Cook County Sheriff All Records FOIA

This FOIA to the Cook County Sheriff is part of our efforts to use the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to open records from the Chicago and Cook County justice system.

In this FOIA, which we have sent to each multiple justice agencies in Chicago and Cook County, we are asking for a list of the types of records maintained by the Sheriff and a description of the manner in which the records are stored. This should significantly increase the public’s ability to understand the records maintained by the office and in what format they are maintained.

Now, for this FOIA to deliver on its promise the Sheriff would be require to respond to the FOIA in a responsible and forthcoming way. Chicago and Cook County agencies do not have a history of either so we might have to sue just to get the agencies to respond properly.

Sheriff FOIA Content:

This request was submitted on May 5th via email:

  1. A list of all types or categories of records currently under the Cook County Sheriff’s Office control, as provided in 5 ILCS 140/5
  2. A description of the manner in which public records stored by means of electronic data processing may be obtained from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (in a form comprehensible to persons lacking knowledge of computer language or printout format), as provided in 5 ILCS 140/5.


May 13th: The Sheriff’s Office notified CJP through their electronic FOIA system that they have completed our reply and we would have to login to their system to download their response.

Here is their response:  FOIA_Documents_Maintained_by_CCSO_Departments_2020

Now, as you can see it is the meekest of responses. It does not contain any information about part 2 of our request. I guess they decided to just ignore it.

Also if you look at the top of their response it says the following

“Below is a list of the documents typically maintained by each Department for purposes of compliance with Section 5 of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. 5 ILCS 140/5. This list is not intended to be exhaustive and instead reflects the most popularly-requested documents based on what is traditionally maintained in the normal course of business.”

I guess they decided for themselves that we were only interested the most commonly requested documents. That was very nice of them. NOT!

We will be replying to this in the near future. When we do we will be posting our response.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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