|Address||10421 S. Homan Ave. |
Chicago, Illinois 60655, United States
|| May 22, 1962
Dec 20, 2017 10:37am
|Info||Sworn in as Sheriff of Cook County in December of 2006, Tom Dart has a diverse and accomplished background in government and law enforcement. He has frequently been mentioned as rising star in Illinois politics. Sheriff Thomas J. Dart The Chicago Tribune recently called Dart “a savvy and energetic political force with a reformist’s bent, (who has) led efforts to bring about long-needed criminal and juvenile justice reforms.” |
He began his career in public service as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, where he prosecuted hundreds of felony crimes during a five-year stint with the office. In addition to working at the county’s famed Criminal Courts Building at 26th and California, Dart was assigned to prosecute crimes in the South Suburbs, where he helped initiate a massive investigation of corruption in the Ford Heights Police Department, leading to the indictment of the chief and several of the town’s police officers.
In 1991, Dart moved to the Illinois General Assembly when he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the State Senate. The next year, he ran for elected office for the first time and won a seat in the Illinois House, representing a diverse district on Chicago’s South Side that included communities like Roseland, Pullman, Morgan Park, Mount Greenwood, Calumet Park and portions of Blue Island.
In Springfield, Dart quickly developed a reputation as a reform-minded legislator who was willing to take on the state bureaucracy. He served as chief sponsor of more than a dozen new child welfare laws that helped restructure the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He also battled the “payday loan” industry by proposing new laws against predatory lenders.
Throughout his tenure in the General Assembly, Dart turned his attention to matters related to law enforcement. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he sponsored Mayor Daley’s Safe Neighborhoods Act and authored several state laws designed to crackdown on child sex offenders, including a statute that targeted child predators who use the Internet to lure young victims. He also wrote the Sexually Violent Predators Commitment Act, a groundbreaking law that enables judges to deny freedom to sexual predators and detain them in state mental health facilities if they believe the offender is likely to commit new sex crimes.
As Co-Chairman of the House Prison Oversight Committee, Dart joined Republican Representative Tom Johnson in holding a series of bipartisan, investigative hearings that revealed Chicago street gangs had established undo influence over the administration of several state prisons. The hearings inspired a number of policy changes at the Illinois Department of Corrections and helped develop new management accountability standards for state detention facilities.
Dart received dozens of honors for his work in the legislature, including the Illinois State Bar Association’s President’s Commendation and “Legislator of the Year Awards” from several groups, including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois State Crime Commission, and Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal wrote that Tom Dart was an “impact player” during his decade of service in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Dart left the legislature in 2003 after an unsuccessful campaign for Illinois State Treasurer and was appointed to serve as Chief of Staff to Cook County Sheriff Michael F. Sheahan. In this capacity, Dart helps administer the second largest sheriff’s department in the nation. In November of 2005, Dart announced his candidacy for Sheriff after Sheahan announced he would not seek re-election after his current term expires. He was elected to a four year term as Sheriff in November of 2006.
Dart holds a J.D. from Loyola University and a Bachelor’s Degree in History and General Social Studies from Providence College. He and his wife Patricia reside in Chicago and are the proud parents of three children.