Wednesday, August 7, 2019
DuPage County Forms New County-Wide Crime Task Force
Law enforcement officials from throughout DuPage County, including State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, Sheriff James Mendrick and nearly two dozen local police chiefs, announced today the formation of a new county-wide task force charged with leading investigations into serious crimes, critical incidents and other law enforcement endeavors. The County’s new Metropolitan Emergency Response & Investigation Team (MERIT) is the brainchild of leadership of the DuPage County Major Crimes Task Force, the DuPage Felony Investigative Assistance Team and the DuPage County Association of Chiefs of Police who recognized the benefit of consolidating both task force entities into a single county-wide task force that will now include the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office. The new task force will replace both the Major Crimes Task Force and the Felony Investigative Assistance Team. Membership to MERIT is limited to law enforcement agencies in DuPage County.
MERIT will be comprised of 11 operational components as follows:
• Crisis Negotiations
• K-9 response
• Major Crash Reconstruction
• Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT)
• Planned Events
• Crime Scene Investigation
• Computer Forensics
• Major Crimes
Each of these units will be led by a Commander who will be responsible for, among other things, maintaining pertinent call-out information, oversight of equipment assigned to the Unit and preparation of all reports including summaries of MERIT activities.
“The consolidation of these agencies into one central task force makes perfect sense and will further advance our commitment to public safety,” Berlin said. “By pooling our resources, we will be able to dedicate the best of the best to any situation that may be beyond the ability of one particular community to respond to effectively in terms of expertise, manpower and/or equipment available at any given time. I am confident that this new premier task force will result in making DuPage County an even safer place to live. I would like to thank all those involved, particularly Sheriff James Mendrick, President of the DuPage County Chiefs of Police Association John Madden and Warrenville Chief of Police Ray Turano for their work in the creation of MERIT which will certainly enhance our collective service to the residents of DuPage County.”
“I’m honored to be a part of such teamwork within our law enforcement communities here in DuPage County,” Mendrick stated. “The Sheriff’s Office and our DuPage County Chiefs of Police had a vision several months ago. This vision was of shared law enforcement services across our entire county. That meant evolving the way we respond to major incidents and streamlining a cohesive, comprehensive training regimen that is consistent throughout all of our agencies. I am extremely grateful to, and proud to work with, our DuPage County Police Chiefs as well as my Chiefs at the Sheriff’s Office. Special mentions to Chief Anthony Romanelli, our State’s Attorney Bob Berlin and Chief John Madden for the amount of work you’ve all put into this to make this a success. As the challenges of society change and grow, we will now grow with them through this new MERIT team. I have every confidence that public safety here in DuPage County has reached a new evolutionarily level.”
MERIT activations are considered of the highest priority and will take precedence over normal duty assignments. Any patrol officer from a member of MERIT will have the authority to request activation of a MERIT component. Upon request of MERIT activation, the component commander will review the request and, if appropriate, authorize activation of the component.
MERIT will be governed by a twelve-member Executive Board of which the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Immediate Past Chair shall serve two-year terms. The remaining positions will be filled by members of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, the DuPage County Chiefs of Police Association, the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office (non-voting), the MERIT Coordinator and three MERIT Deputy Coordinators.