FORD HEIGHTS --As of Monday evening, the Cook County Sheriff's Department is providing round-the-clock police protection for the village of Ford Heights. Sheriff Tom Dart was on hand with his team to make the announcement Monday. Dart says his department was forced to take over after Ford Heights police officers failed to show up for work. For years, the Ford Heights Police Department has been plagued with budget problems and corruption. Two years ago, the sheriff's department began covering two to three shifts for Ford Heights. Now, it's 24 hours a day. "You have a situation where the police department vanishes. Who is to take the place then? And these are residents of the county, they pay taxes and they deserve police protection and we're it," said Dart. "This is something we are doing from top to bottom. We have our graffiti truck out here, we have our SWAP unit out here as well, picking up garbage." Dart says Ford Heights police chief, Earl Bridges, was invited to Monday's news conference. But he did not attend. Dart estimates police protection for Ford Heights could cost the county more than $2 million a year.
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