Noland Rivera: 2022 candidate for Cook County Sheriff
Occupation: Sergeant of Police, Chicago Police Department
Previous offices held: n/a
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
A: As a 28-year veteran Sergeant of the Chicago Police Department, I know intimately how crime destroys hope, families, and communities. We are a county of rich and diverse communities and we must come together to ensure we provide a safe, prosperous, and welcoming community. As Sheriff I plan to bring sound common sense leadership, eliminate fraud, waste and abuse at all levels, work with local, state, and federal agencies to bring more resources to the Sheriff's office, to hire more Deputies, and improve and maintain safe working and efficient detention facilities. I am without question the most qualified candidate with decades long background in law enforcement, professional training and experience. Currently, I am a police training supervisor and instructor with the Chicago Police Academy, where I have had the absolute honor of helping develop the next generation of compassionate and just police officers.
Q: If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
A: The biggest difference between myself and my challenger's is my experience, training and credentials. And it is what ultimately guides me to do this job right. As Sheriff, I will establish an efficient, humane and modern Sheriff's Department which is considerate of the needs of all stakeholders. I am the highest trained, most qualified candidate in this race. The fact is, people who the law has determined should be removed from society, are a threat to all of our safety and that threat needs to be managed in a fair and equitable fashion, to individuals that are accused of crimes, as well as the victims of crime and their families.
Q: Describe your position regarding the allocation of resources in the sheriff's office. Are personnel allocated as they should be? Are there capital expense or other budgetary items that the office must address, and, if so, how do you propose to address them?
A: I plan to conduct a comprehensive budgetary analysis in order to identify where resources can be reallocated and reduce the multi tiered levels of bureaucracy with the ultimate goal of controlling wasteful expenditures. One of the largest expenditures of the Sheriff's Office is the hiring, training and retention of qualified officers. I will initiate an aggressive hiring and retention program to attract and retain well qualified, committed, and motivated officers especially from communities that are impacted by high crime. I will examine and evaluate the Sheriff's Office staffing structure to make changes where necessary. This may take the reassigning and/or reorganization of the office into a financially responsible and flexible organization that can quickly respond to system and personnel demands. I will endeavor to hire up to 3,000 new officers above the currently budgeted number by lobbying the county, state and federal government for additional resources.
Q: There's been a concerted effort within the county's criminal justice system to incarcerate fewer pretrial defendants in the county jail. Some, particularly in the suburbs, blame this for a rise in crime. Do you support these policies? If not, what would you suggest instead?
A: This takes the cooperation of the Sheriff's office working together with the State's Attorney and Chief Judge to create good common sense policies. The goal shouldn't be to just empty the jails, it should be to treat everyone as an individual and not use blanket solutions for individual cases. And this becomes even more important when we compare those with low level, non violent offenses, to others who are violent criminals. Simply put, we shouldn't let violent and repeated gun offenders back on the street under the guise of fairness as they pose a danger to the community. As Sheriff I will be fair and humane to any detainees. My priority and this office however, should be to provide for the safety and well-being of the people of Cook County as well as comply with court orders and host and hold detainees until the outcome of their case is determined.
Q: In July 2020, the county board passed a resolution that called for, in part, the county to "redirect funds from policing and incarceration to public services not administered by law enforcement." Did or do you support this measure and the philosophy behind it? Why or why not?
A: I do not support it because this ends up penalizing law enforcement for issues that are community wide. And it should not be the burden of the police or law enforcement agencies to shoulder the costs or in this case lose funds due to new initiatives outside of its mandate. We are living in a time where we are seeing spikes in violence all across the state and municipalities. Taxpayers expect safe neighborhoods and expect law enforcement to respond when they call. We should support our law enforcement officers, our departments and agencies who work on a daily basis to protect our neighborhoods, cities and communities. Unfortunately, we've seen failed examples of defunding law enforcement agencies in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and it would be a disservice to further divest from this and exacerbate the problem of increasing violence and crime in Cook County.
Q: What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
A: I have a number of short and long term objectives to improve the Sheriff's department including: Conducting a comprehensive budgetary analysis, addressing the obstacles and problems with the electronic monitoring program, improving the hiring and retention process, having open and frank communications with bargaining units, making improvements to Cook County jail's operations, facilities and processing, addressing the gaps between those referred to the sheriff's office by the courts, and finally establishing a mobile crime reduction task force. Throughout my career I have practiced and brought professionalism and expertise to every position I have held. When elected Sheriff. I plan to bring the same sound common attributes to this office and to the citizens of Cook County.