UPDATED 04/20/11 6:30 a.m.

BURNHAM, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — A statewide initiative that is aimed at protecting residents of nursing homes has lead to the arrest of four residents of a south suburban nursing home who had outstanding criminal warrants.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, the arrests were made at Burnham Healthcare, at 14500 S. Manistee Ave. in south suburban Burnham, after officials made a surprise visit.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports

Based on outstanding and active Cook County arrest warrants, investigators with the help of Burnham police arrested Donna Williams, 48, for disorderly conduct; Aisha Reasonover, 41, for retail theft; Robert Simmons, 55, for possession of marijuana; and Sheri Spencer, 38, for trespassing, a news release said.

The arrests were part of Operation Guardian, which Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says is aimed at keeping residents safe.

“Unannounced compliance checks that we do at nursing homes around the state of Illinois to do two things really – one, to make sure that they are abiding by the Identified Offender Law that requires all nursing homes to do background checks,” Madigan said.

That list is then run against the criminal database and that is how law enforcement officials made these latest arrests.

If residents are identified as former criminals, Madigan says the nursing home is required to put in place special safety precautions.

This was the 28th surprise compliance check made since the initiative began more than a year ago.

Forty-two residents and employees have been arrested in the effort.

The initiative grew out of and expands on the AG’s previous work to shut down south suburban Emerald Park Nursing Home, which was found to be housing numerous sex offenders and other felons, the release said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.