Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is offering to assist suburban towns with snow removal from fire hydrants and emergency routes by assigning those completing community service hours to that effort. The work done by those in the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program comes at no charge to the municipality and can be arranged by village leaders, preferably those from the suburb’s fire or public works departments.
Those in the SWAP program have been sentenced to complete hours of service after being convicted of a low-level, non-violent crime. Participants voluntarily meet at each suburban courthouse – Markham, Bridgeview, Maywood, Rolling Meadows and Skokie – each morning, with most choosing to report closest to their home. They are transported by Sheriff’s Office staff to complete light labor assignments in nearby communities, based largely on requests from area schools, villages and non-profit agencies. Hours worked are tallied by an on-site officer and documented to court officials.
Since the snowstorm hit one week ago, many SWAP crews have been clearing snow from sidewalks and parking lots at suburban courthouses, among other weather-related duties. Because some areas continue to struggle with removal, Dart has ordered SWAP crews to remove snow from requested areas around fire hydrants and other emergency areas as a priority over all other assignments. The workers will then assist with snow removal on main streets, followed by side streets, as requested by village leaders.
Communities in need of assistance can call the SWAP office at 773-674-3832.