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Dart also committed to assigning a staff attorney to investigate potential cases of mortgage fraud, while also assigning a social worker to begin going out with eviction teams, in hopes of linking those families with social service agencies.

This unique approach drew international attention and earned Dart an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the foreclosure crisis via forums such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and the BBC.

In November, Dart testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, providing details to Senators about how the foreclosure crisis is impacting Cook County neighborhoods.

In the legislature, he developed a reputation as a persistent lawmaker, sponsoring hundreds of bills, while demanding accountability from state officials and showing a strong willingness to take on state bureaucracy.

He served as chief sponsor of more than a dozen new child welfare bills and successfully fought for both an audit of the Illinois Department of Children Family Services and the appointment of an inspector general for that agency.

Dart wrote the state’s groundbreaking Sexually Violent Predators Commitment Act, which requires sex offenders to remain in a supervised setting if they’re deemed likely to re-offend. He also chaired a House task force on protecting the rights of abused and neglected children.

Also while in the Legislature, Dart co-chaired the House prison oversight committee, where he developed new management and accountability standards for the Department of Corrections.

Dart is involved in many ongoing community initiatives, such as sponsoring Mayor Daley’s Safe Neighborhoods bill, toughening penalties against those involved in gun crimes.

Dart also led a first-ever study on the connection between homelessness and prostitution, while also introducing bills that would steer women charged with non-violent crimes to alternative sentencing programs instead of to jail.

These efforts provided a natural transition for Dart to be elected Cook County Sheriff in 2006.

 

Dart again made worldwide headlines in March 2009 when he filed a federal lawsuit against the popular website craigslist, accusing its owners of creating a public nuisance through its “erotic services” section. Calling it “the single largest source of prostitution in America,” Dart demanded the website either better monitor those postings or remove the category altogether. Dart cited the number of human trafficking and juvenile prostitution arrests his vice officers have made in calling for the change. Just two months later, amid growing national pressure, craigslist’s administrators relented and made the very changes Dart demanded.



Continuing that fight, Dart established a first-of-its-kind prostitution intervention team, which has drawn nationwide interest. Made up of former prostitutes and licensed supervisors, sheriff’s staffers accompany vice officers on prostitution stings and perform on-site intervention after an arrest, encouraging women to immediately go to a recovery house and proceed with life-changing choices.

Dart is also infiltrating Cook County’s growing world of dog fighting with the department’s first animal crimes unit. That unit secured the department’s first-ever bust of a dog fight in progress and also made the largest seizure of fighting dogs in state history. Dart is now pushing to make it a felony to attend a dog fight.  Dart also formed a public corruption and financial crimes task force, while also making efforts to publicize long-unsolved cold cases, through community awareness as well as by making case information available online.

Dart, a Chicago native, graduated from Providence College. He earned his law degree from Loyola University of Chicago. He and his wife, Patricia, live on Chicago’s South Side and are the proud parents of five children.

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