State's Attorney's Violent Crimes Unit Funding Approved

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Lake County State's Attorneys Office


Dec. 14, 2021


For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Newton
(224) 374-2376


County Board Unanimously Approves Funding to Bolster State’s Attorney’s New Violent Crimes Unit


(Lake County, IL) - On Tuesday, the Lake County Board unanimously approved State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart’s expansion of the office’s newly-created Violent Crimes Unit. The board’s action authorizes Rinehart to devote two additional prosecutors and a victim-witness counselor to the unit.

“This Violent Crimes Unit will allow our most experienced prosecutors to immediately collaborate with police agencies in order to provide enhanced legal support during investigations,” Rinehart said. “For the first time ever, we will be assigning a victim-witness counselor immediately to cases involving a homicide or great bodily harm. Victims may need help immediately even when a police investigation is still open. I am proud of this early support for victims and survivors.”  

State’s Attorney Rinehart also said that the unit would follow a vertical prosecution approach, in which a single prosecutor follows a case from “night one” to conviction. Rinehart added, “This model has been used in our sex crimes unit for years, but I have been expanding it to violent crimes. This allows the same attorneys and counselors to be working with survivors immediately.”

Rinehart had previously requested the expansion of the unit during budget hearings in October. But after normal operating budgets were kept flat for fiscal year 2022, Rinehart worked with Lake County Administrative staff and the Finance & Administration Committee to seek funding from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) apportionment.

Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart commented, “State’s Attorney Rinehart has been aggressively seeking this funding for months. He presented the board with statistics that showed a sustained increase in violence over the last several years, and we felt his office needed additional resources to deal with this recent surge within the pandemic. We have asked him to look for other efficiencies in the office, but we also felt that emergency ARPA funding could be used now for a vital community need.”

The funding is expected to be available by January 2022, and Rinehart indicated that he will be staffing the unit as quickly as possible in consultation with First Assistant State’s Attorney Sharmila Manak and Chief of Violent Crimes Ben Dillon.



Lake County State's Attorney's Office
18 N. County Street
Waukegan, IL 60085  
Phone: (847) 377-3000