A Candid Conversation with Tom Dart and Eddie Johnson
Moderated by Mary Mitchell
Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016
Hon. Thomas Dart
As Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart has brought an aggressive, yet innovative approach to law enforcement. A former prosecutor and state legislator, Sheriff Dart has long fought for the rights of others and to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. Since becoming Sheriff in 2006, he has introduced sweeping changes at the Cook County Jail—the nation’s largest single site jail, aggressively re-structured the Sheriff’s Police force, and improved operations of the Court Services Department.
At the Cook County Department of Corrections, the Sheriff oversees a population of over 12,000 that includes inmates both housed on-site and ordered to alternative programs. From addressing concerns surrounding general overcrowding and a growing mental health population to developing environmentally sustainable initiatives for inmates, Sheriff Dart relentlessly takes whatever steps necessary to improve and maintain the safety and security of all those housed and employed at the Cook County Jail. In 2009, Time magazine named Sheriff Dart one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, thanks to his groundbreaking efforts. He and his wife Patricia live on Chicago’s South Side and are the proud parents of five young children.
Eddie T. Johnson
Eddie T. Johnson has served as Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department since his appointment in March. Johnson joined CPD as a Patrolman in May 1988 and has served in several supervisory roles, including Sergeant (5th District), Sergeant (Detective Division), and Gang/Tactical Sergeant. After that, he served as a Lieutenant in Patrol in the 15th District (Austin) before being promoted to Commander of the 6th District (Gresham), Deputy Chief for Area Central, Executive Officer of Patrol, and finally, Chief of Patrol, where he commanded 8,000 police officers.
Johnson is a Member of the Executive Board of NOBLE’s Chicago Chapter, the St. Jude Board of Directors, and the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Assistance Committee. He has a received a number of policing awards, including department commendations, the Chicago Defender Men of Excellence Award, and others. A Chicago native, Johnson grew up in Cabrini Green until he was nine years old, at which point his family moved to Washington Heights where he continues to reside.
Mary A. Mitchell is an Editorial Board Member and Columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Mitchell joined the Sun-Times as an Education Writer in 1991, and has covered City Hall and US Federal Courts. Published Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, Mitchell’s columns continually raise community awareness about important advocacy issues, including criminal justice, police misconduct, and race relations. In several instances, her reporting led state legislators to strengthen laws protecting the rights of women and children. Today, Mitchell’s reporting often rallies African American readers to empower their communities by giving the voiceless a platform to address social ills, such as failing schools, abusive police, disparities in the criminal justice system, and corrupt government officials.
Mitchell has written for several national publications including, Essence magazine. From 2006 through 2010, Mitchell co-hosted a popular Sunday morning public affairs program on V-103. She is a is a frequent panelist on Fox-TV and on WTTW's “Week In Review”, and has appeared on national news programs, including "Meet The Press".
Mitchell is a recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists; the Studs Terkel Award from the Community Media Workshop; the Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club; and in 2011, Mitchell was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. Mitchell was raised in Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.