For the last several months, Chicago police have stopped responding to calls of trouble at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center on the West Side, reports the Chicago Tribune. Police said it should be the responsibility of the Cook County sheriff’s office, but the sheriff’s office and the center contend police had long been responding to calls at the facility and should continue to do so. Chicago police will continue to respond to “public safety emergencies” at the juvenile center, police Superintendent Jody Weis wrote in a letter to Sheriff Tom Dart. But Weis did not spell out what might constitute such an emergency.
Center officials say police have not responded to calls of physical attacks against staff and residents. Caught in the middle are staffers who fear for their safety and say the dispute has hurt their ability to curb violent behavior by the residents. “There is no recourse anymore,” said staffer Elbert Muhammad, who was stabbed in the head with a pencil last year. Earl Dunlap, the transitional head of the facility, said the Police Department’s inaction also puts residents who have been assaulted at greater risk of being victimized again.