Sheriff Tom Dart served as a prosecutor and an Illinois state legislator prior to being elected as Cook County Sheriff in 2006.
Sheriff Dart is a longtime mental health care advocate, and in his role as sheriff, he recognized that much of the population in Cook County Jail needed mental health treatment. Since 2006, he has worked to offer assistance to people in need while shining a national spotlight on the perils of the criminalization of mental illness. Because of the void created when mental health treatment centers closed around Chicagoland, Sheriff Dart, in partnership with experts in the field, developed necessary care and mental health treatment programs for people inside and outside of the jail. Offering treatment to those who suffer from mental illness has reduced the jail’s population and has reduced recidivism rates for these individuals.
In 2017, Governing Magazine named Sheriff Dart a Public Official of the Year, and TIME Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009.