County’s Warrant Squad Seeks More Than 40,000 Fugitives

CHICAGO (CBS) — They’re wanted — not just hundreds, but tens of thousands of fugitives.

That’s just in Cook County. CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman went out with a unit that works to find the people who don’t want to get caught.

In a West Side apartment building, you could hear Cook County Sheriff’s Police shouting, “Let me see your hands!”

After tense moments, they got their fugitive, a gang member with a gun history.

A relative said she didn’t know where she was, but was in there.

“He was in the back of the closet … I could see his feet,” Investigator Kevin Badon said.

Family members didn’t like it one bit. There was yelling and screaming.

“Most of the time the families in these houses are more of an issue than the actual fugitive,” Badon said.

“We never know what we’ll encounter,” Sgt. David Roman added.

That’s reality for the Central Warrant Unit, day in and day out. And the work keeps coming. You could put a fugitive in each and every one of the seats at Wrigley Field.

That’s how many fugitive warrants there are in Cook County. It’s more than 40,000.

While a large percentage are probation violations, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said there are more serious offenders, too.

“We have a large group, too, that are warrants for homicides, sex assaults and very serious offenses,” he said. “It’s disturbing whenever you have someone who is running from the law.”

Dart says they’re getting tougher on going after the really bad guys. Lt. Ted Stajura says there’s room at the jail for them.

“As we always say, we always leave the light on for you,” said Stajura.

A lot of investigative work goes into knowing the fugitives’ habits so officers don’t come back empty-handed. They don’t get everybody they go after, but when CBS 2 went along with them Thursday morning, they got three out of four.

Typical number: about 35 in a week.

There is a Cook County fugitive hotline for anyone with information on someone on the run. That number is (708) 865-4902.

  • tom sharp

    First the police should look in the mirror, then check ‘workers’ City Hall, the CTA, and County Building. That should cut the list down by more than half!


    Really? 40,000 fugitives in Cook County alone? And our wonderful,elite,know it all politicians just beat down a concealed carry law? Only in the Land of Ill-Repute! Sleep well tonight folks,if there’s 40,000 law breaking low life’s they know about and are fugitives,can you guess how many there are on our streets every day and night? Yes, I would say I don’t believe Richie Daley’s anti gun laws are working.Long live Smith and Wesson and glory be to Winchester!

  • Windycityblue

    Is it not easy to see where one of the big problems is with this headline. Our court system in Cook County is failing our society and certainly not supporting the police.
    The public would be outraged to see the long list of arrests that the average career criminal or criminal street gang member has ” rap sheet “. Each arrest situatiuon creates risk for the officer and cost money too. The number of 40,000 is ridiculous to accept, this would mean that an arrestee did not show up to a pending Cook County court because his initial bond was too weak or low or the arrestee was convicted of an offense and put on probation ( again and again ) and violated the terms somehow. The public would be outraged to find out just how many cases in Cook County courts are just thrown out or not even heard.. for various reasons that the court policy makers should have to explain to the public. The average career criminal that is responsible for many chronic crime conditions that plague areas of the city laugh at the court system and have no fear… so what does the officer have to do.. continue the cycle of arresting the same individulas over and over again.. and what does the public do.. continue to complain to the police about the same crime problems on their block commited by the same subjects sometimes hours after their arrest.
    Come on Cook County policy makers, Judges, State and City Attorneys.. get something right.. because you are failing us all !!

  • Windycityblue

    Free advice for the incoming Mayor and Superintendent, if you want to effectively address the crime conditions and issues that our City continues to battle ( which I am sincerely hoping that you do ), don’t overlook the failure of our current court system in Cook County, their is no reason to continue the ‘ revolving door ‘ of arrests resulting in no substantial or effective penalty and therefore no deterrent. No reason to continue the blessing this County gives out with so much probation or parole from our State prison system.. it is not effective.. the majorty of the 40,000 fugitves most likely are probation or bond violators.. doesn’t that tell anyone that this current system and policy does not work… why is it never addressed.. why is it never fixed. It starts early in our court system in Cook County, within the Juvenile system ( know as ‘ lets make a deal ” court )… meaning probation after probation after different levels of probation !… no deterrent is laughed at by juvenile offenders who often smile when leaving the court house.. then it continues into the misdemeanor system ( how many defendants walk up to the Judge and within minutes walk out of court with their case dismissed without even being heard or a substantially weak penalty being applied ).. this then carrys on to the felony system ( by then repeat offenders know the weakness in our system well ), but at this level a high percentage of offenders are now career criminals.
    The public needs to understand this failure and what would be required to improve it.
    The public needs to demand and allow the necessary changes and corrections that this court system needs. The policy makers should not overlook this failed court system…. fix or improve it right and we might all just see less criminal offenses committed sometimes by the same individuals over and over again, making our City a better and safer place to live.

  • Centurion

    These fugitives should be taken straight to the guillotine. That will help alleviate the backlog of court cases.

    • Tracy

      The same thing should happen to the people that help these homies stay hidden for so long.

  • NWA

    Here is the thing! Most of the po po thinks that the public don’t know the difference between a search warrant and an arrest warrant. They came to my door looking for someone named Ossie Davis. I informed them that the Ossie Davis I knew of was an actor plus he was dead. The po po said that the Ossie Davis they were looking for was not the same Ossie Davis I was speaking of. I told them that I was sure of that but the Ossie Davis they were looking for doesn’t live here. That’s when the po po asked could they come in and look around. Mmm… I said that I don’t think that was possible seeing as you only have an arrest warrant which doesn’t afford you entrée into my home. So, I told them they should do exactly what a judge has allowed them to do, and that is to wait for Ossie Davis to come out.

    They can only come into your home if they know that he/she is inside of your home. And, they’d better be damn right. Because if they are not, they might as well settle the suit before it gets to court. If they came to your door and said, “we have a warrant” but, they never say what kind of warrant they had. Please ask if they have a search warrant. Make sure they have the right address and, ask them what the warrant says they can search for.


    • Anglo-Saxon

      @NWA, That sounds like a typical police hater mentality. How about inviting them in to satisfy their suspicions? We all need to do what ever we can to help the police get these criminal homies off of the street and in prison, to rot permanently. The only good black homie is a dead black homie, but I would settle for a permanent prison stay instead. You are really part of the problem with the black community, NWA. Why don’t you do your part to help clean up the trash?

      • Chi-chic

        stop saying homie when you have no idea what i means. why does the arrestee have to be black? i bet there are a bunch of white pedophiles, rapist or crack head drug dealers out there too. i’m willing to help the police as long as they do it according to the law, which means search warrant to search and arrest warrant only to arrest.

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