The following is a press release from the office of Lake County Sheriff Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Waukegan- Over the past several months the deaths of Lyvita Gomes and Eugene Gruber have sparked questions and debate regarding the operation and safety within the Lake County Jail.
Since I was first elected in 2006, my focus has always been on ethics, professionalism and safe and efficient law enforcement practices. I have always conveyed the message that my office is a transparent one.
Therefore, I have requested that an independent investigation be commissioned by Lake County Government to not only conduct a review of these two incidents but to also determine whether the policies, procedures and training within my office are consistent with the highest standards of law enforcement. I want to know if there are problems with the daily operations and safety within the Lake County jail. I want to know if there are ways to improve the manner that we process and incarcerate those that are charged with crimes. I take my responsibility of providing appropriate medical attention to those who are sick or injured very seriously. I want to know if there are areas in which we need to improve the medical care that is provided to our inmates. I am open-minded concerning making any and all changes necessary to improve the operational safety of the Lake County jail for both inmates and officers.
I am pleased to announce that Lake County Government has retained the services of attorney Terry A. Ekl to conduct a comprehensive and exhaustive investigation of the Lake County jail and to make findings related to the following:
Â· Whether any member of the Sheriff’s Office engaged in any form of misconduct in connection with the death of Eugene Gruber. This will include violations of policies, procedures and general orders of the Sheriff’s Office for which disciplinary action may be deemed appropriate.
Â· Whether any member of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office engaged in any form of misconduct in connection with the death of Lyvita Gomes. This will include violations of policies, procedures and general orders of the Sheriff’s Office for which disciplinary action may be deemed appropriate.
Â· Whether deficient or defective medical care was provided to Mr. Gruber or Ms. Gomes while incarcerated in the Lake County jail.
Â· Whether policies, procedures and general orders are sufficient to ensure proper care of inmates.
Â· Whether the policies and procedures of the Lake County jail can be improved upon relating to the processing, housing and medical care provided to inmates.
Â· Whether additional training or improved training will likely improve the quality of care provided to inmates of the Lake County jail.
Â· Whether the Lake County jail is an adequate facility to house inmates.
Â· Whether the equipment in the Lake County jail is adequate to meet the needs of the jail staff and the inmates.
I have instructed all members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to cooperate with Mr. Ekl in connection with his investigation.
Terry A. Ekl is a former prosecutor and has been engaged in representing criminal defendants for over thirty years in both state and federal court. He has also represented both plaintiffs claiming civil rights violations as well as law enforcement officials who were defendants in federal civil right cases. He has previously conducted investigations of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Mt. Prospect Police Department and the Park Ridge Police Department.
As part of this investigation, Mr. Ekl has been authorized to hire an expert in the field of corrections operations to assist him in reaching detailed and accurate conclusions.
The Sheriff and the Sheriff’s Office will have no further comment on this release until the investigation is completed and a full report is released.