Forum in Aurora to focus on pre-arrest diversion program – Chicago Tribune

Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser will host a public forum explaining Kane County’s new pre-arrest diversion initiative from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Tuesday at Aurora’s Santori Library, 101 S. River St. . in the city center.

Mosser and Kane County Sheriff Ron Sheriff Hain, along with leaders from the National Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Support Bureau, will share details and answer questions about the implementation and expansion of this initiative throughout Kane County.

Pre-arrest diversion connects people who have become involved with law enforcement due to untreated mental illness, substance use disorders, or a lack of resources in the community to the help they need rather than having them go through the criminal justice system, officials said.

Individuals are eligible if they are suspected of having committed a low level non-violent offence. Police officers have the discretion to make the referral when they believe it is a more appropriate response, forum organizers said in a press release.

Participants then work closely with a case manager who helps connect them to the resources they need to move in a more positive direction, officials say.

The initiative began in Elgin in November 2021, followed by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office in January 2022 and Carpentersville last March.

According to the release, Mosser is seeking to make pre-arrest diversion available countywide as resources permit.

The forum is an opportunity for the community to learn how the initiative works, its benefits within the community and how the public can actively support the initiative, organizers said in the statement. Attendees will be able to ask questions of Kane County officials overseeing the initiative, as well as National Directors attending the event.

Mosser encourages the public to attend the forum to allay concerns about the program, which she says “has been successful in many states and many communities.”

“However, we face questions about how the program works and who it is for, and many critics don’t know the facts,” she said in the statement. “Helping nonviolent members of our community get help instead of putting them in jail will make our community safer and is a great use of our resources.”

Melvin B. Baillie