Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx defends office, blames departures on COVID-19 pandemic

While some see reforms as soft on crime, Foxx says policies help build trust in communities impacted by police misconduct.

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ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx blamed departures from her office on lingering COVID-19 impacts amid criticism over policies on crime.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For the first time, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx publicly addressed questions about a round of recent departures from her office on Tuesday.

Those quitting included one senior prosecutor who was highly critical of Foxx's administration. Foxx defended her office and assumed no personal responsibility for people leaving, instead blaming it on the lingering toll from the pandemic.

She said there are many factors that have contributed to the recent loss of senior prosecutors and supervisors in her office.

"The reality is that we are in the midst of what has been designated as the great resignation. And we have not been spared," Foxx said.

SEE ALSO | Resigning prosecutor says he has 'zero confidence' in Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx

Foxx pointed to recent studies showing attrition rates of 20% in other big cities, and said one huge contributing factor was the pandemic, which virtually shut down courts in Chicago for more than a year.

"As the courts started opening up, the work that was required to deal with the backlog to keep our community safe fell squarely on the shoulders of the dedicated staff here at the Cook County State's Attorney's office," Foxx said.

When Prosecutor Jim Murphy abruptly resigned at the end of July after 25 years, he sent a scorched earth email to colleagues saying he had lost respect for the administration, something that sources in the office said left people feeling disrespected, angry and demoralized.

Foxx, a frequent target of criticism for reforms seen by some as soft on crime, defended her policies as helping build trust in communities most impacted by police misconduct.

"They go hand in hand, righting these wrongs, is a method of policing," she said.

But Foxx dodged a question about her future.

When asked whether she would seek another term, Foxx said, "I'm interested in making sure that people who are, have had convictions that we cannot stand by have an opportunity to have their freedom and that we right the wrongs of the past."

Foxx is not up for reelection until 2024.