By Mark Wachtler
May 15, 2015. Ansbach, Germany. (ONN) When the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s Department attempted to acquire free surplus military equipment from the Pentagon last year, they were shocked to find out that both entities were banned from receiving such equipment because of past improprieties. While the CPD has bigger PR problems at the moment, the Sheriff took the embarrassment of losing a tank personally. And after an exhaustive year-long search, the missing tank has been found, in Germany.
The Cook County counter-terrorism team in 2010 with a similar armored personnel carrier. Image courtesy of MedicalTactics.com.
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Sheriff Tom Dart
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart continues to be the most successful and popular currently-elected Chicago Machine politician. With voter approval of his fellow Machine Democrats plummeting due to widespread scandals and economic catastrophe, Dart has spent the past nine years rocking the boat and challenging authority on behalf of everyday citizens and residents as the Sheriff of America’s second largest County police force.
A native of the Machine-dominated Ward that has supplied every recent Democratic Cook County Sheriff before him, Dart made national headlines shortly after taking office in 2006 when the US economy collapsed. During the height of the foreclosure robo-signing scandal perpetrated by banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, Sheriff Tom Dart temporarily suspended the use of his police in evicting homeowners from their homes.
Millions of American homeowners had their homes unjustly taken from them, along with all their possessions inside, by banks for literally no reason. At the end of a class action lawsuit that was cut-off when it reached 1,000,000 victims, each homeowner was awarded by US federal courts only a couple thousand dollars. They’d lost everything, including their homes, and got nothing back. Read the 2013 report from our sister publication Whiteout Press, ‘Government still letting Corrupt Corporations steal Homes’ for more information.
Sheriff Dart has also made headlines over the past few years by bringing to light the dangerous overcrowding occurring at Cook County Jail. It’s the largest prison in America and the jail he personally oversees. With an average 10,000 inmates, and one-third of them being housed for mental illness and not criminal activity, Dart challenged everyone from the Cook County President to the Cook County State’s Attorney. He fought funding cuts to the jail and he publicly chastised prosecutors for continuing to flood his prison with non-violent marijuana offenders and dads behind on child support.
Has anyone seen our tank?
One of the few remaining Democratic Machine politicians with any credibility, Dart has proven his competence yet again. When the US military accused the previous Cook County Sheriff of losing the armored vehicle given to the department by the Pentagon 12 years ago, Dart went public and insisted that Cook County didn’t lose it, the military did. Not surprisingly, few believed him, as losing a tank seemed in perfect character for a County that had to admit its DCFS agency lost 50,000 Cook County children it had forcibly removed from their parents. Read ‘Anonymous launches Operation Expose CPS’ for details about that nationwide scandal.
Two days ago, the Chicago Sun Times published a report describing a celebratory Cook County Sheriff’s Department. It turns out Sheriff Tom Dart was right all along and the Defense Department was wrong. The military vehicle had been returned to the Pentagon years ago. At the same time, three somewhat surprising facts emerged in the process.
One, it was revealed that the vehicle referred to by all parties as a ‘tank’ was actually more of an armored personnel carrier. Two, it had no wheels and was practically useless unless towed to a desired location. And three, Sheriff Dart didn’t want a tank in the first place. This whole controversy started when he simply put in a request last year to acquire some of the military’s surplus bulletproof vests for his officers, not military vehicles for putting down peaceful political protests as some had accused.
“I can confirm the tank is in Germany,” Cook County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ben Breit told the Sun Times, “It’s exactly what we said happened. We had the tank. We physically drove it back to the federal government, and that was that.” He said the military’s Defense Logistics Agency just notified the Sheriff’s Department that it had in fact found the missing vehicle, in Germany.
It’s not often that a Cook County or Chicago government body outshines other agencies around the country, especially the Department of Defense. But it happened this time. So while the Pentagon slowly reviews the lifting of the ban on giving equipment to Cook County, maybe they could speed it up so our local police officers can get some bulletproof vests.
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