Patch News

Noland Rivera: Cook County Sheriff Candidate

COOK COUNTY, IL — Ahead of Illinois’ June 28 primary elections, Patch distributed questionnaires to candidates running in contested races in the Democratic and Republican parties, including the five candidates seeking a four-year term as Cook County Sheriff.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Thomas J. Dart (in office since 2006) faces off with Noland Rivera, LaTonya Ruffin and Carmen Navarro Gercone. There are no Republican candidates on the ballot. Brad Sanderfur will run in the general election as a Libertarian.

Name: Noland River

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Campaign website:

Town of residence: Chicago

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Party affiliation: Democrat

Family: We are a Gold Star family as a result of my wife Sheila Rivera being the first Cook County Sheriff Officer to die in the line-of-duty in 2020 due to COVID-19. I am now a single parent for the second time and a father of five wonderful children; Anthony N. Rivera, Allie Fuell, Megan Fleischmen, Noland A. Rivera Jr., and Isaiah C. Rivera. I have also been a caregiver for my mother Lillian I. Gonzalez for over 22 years and our German Shepherd Dog is named, “Justice.”

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

Brother, James A. Rivera, Deputy District Chief, Chicago Fire Department

Education: Master of Science in Threat and Response Management, at the University of Chicago;

Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Management at Calumet College of St. Joseph; Associate’s Degree in Applied Science and Criminal Justice at Wilbur Wright College Illinois

Occupation: Sergeant of Police, Chicago Police Department

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: None

Why are you seeking this office?

As a 28-year veteran Sergeant of the Chicago Police Department, I know intimately how crime destroys hope, families, and communities. We are a county of rich and diverse communities and we must come together to ensure we provide a safe, prosperous, and welcoming community. It is without a doubt, that now is the time to strive for the greatest outcome for our future and the future of our children. I am running for Sheriff to bring sound common sense leadership, eliminate fraud, waste and abuse at all levels, work with local, state, and federal agencies to bring more resources to the Sheriff’s office, to hire more Deputies, and improve and maintain safe working and efficient detention facilities.

The single most pressing issue facing Cook County is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

The single most pressing issue facing Cook County is crime. I will address this by refunding the police, hiring more officers, professionalizing the force, and committing to real engagement with communities, leaders and stakeholders. I will also have a greater sheriff’s presence, cultivate strong partnerships with municipalities county wide to include Chicago cook, and provide them additional support in law enforcement crime reduction.

What are the major differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

First and foremost I am not a career politician nor have I sought to run for any other position. I decided to run for Cook County Sheriff and didn’t ask anyone for permission. This is not politics as usual. I am not a machine appointee nor a ‘paper only’ officer. Secondly, I am the most qualified and highly experienced candidate in this race. University of Chicago, along with my world-wide, on the job experiences, have given me the training and preparation to perform the duties of Sheriff of Cook County. I earned my Masters Degree from the University of Chicago, a retired Army and Air Force Master Sergeant with two overseas tours, Flight Chief, Anti-Terrorism Officer, Air Marshal, and currently a Police training instructor with over 27 years as a member of the CPD assigned in the Police Training Academy.

If you are a challenger, what would you do differently than the incumbent?

The biggest difference between myself and the incumbent is my experience, training and credentials. And it is what ultimately guides me to do this job right. As Sheriff, I will establish an efficient, humane and modern Sheriff’s Department which is considerate of the needs of all stakeholders. I am the highest trained, most qualified candidate in this race. The fact is, people who the law has determined should be removed from society, are a threat to all of our safety and that threat needs to be managed in a fair and equitable fashion, to individuals that are accused of crimes, as well as the victims of crime and their families.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform:

I have a number of short and long term objectives to improve the Sheriff’s department including: Conducting a comprehensive budgetary analysis, addressing the obstacles and problems with the electronic monitoring program, improving the hiring and retention process, having open and frank communications with bargaining units, Making improvements to cook county jail’s operations, facilities and processing, addressing the gaps between those referred to the sheriff’s office by the courts, and finally establishing a mobile crime reduction task force.

How would you address the increase in carjackings in Cook County, and what is your take on how the spike in carjackings has been handled so far?

What we are all experiencing is a breakdown in the criminal justice system in Cook County in which the Sheriff’s office should be playing a critical role. The Sheriff’s office as a law enforcement body should be leading and coordinating a plan with the 128 municipalities on better ways to stop these crimes, arrest individuals responsible, share information and do on-going joint operations to quell hotspots. We are in desperate need of a trained professional to drive this necessary change, not career politicians and empty promises.

If you gain this position, what accomplishment would define your term in office as a success?

I plan to professionalize the sheriff’s office, bring greater trust and cooperation between the office and the 128 communities within the county, hire up to 3,000 officers, ensure greater health and safety for individuals referred by the courts, and ensure the electronic monitoring system is used for its intended use for non-violent offenders.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

Throughout my career I have practiced and brought professionalism and expertise to every position I have held. When elected Sheriff. I plan to bring the same sound common attributes to this office and to the citizens of Cook County. I am without question the most qualified candidate. And in addition to my extensive background in law enforcement, I have the greatest scope of experience and the wisdom that comes from that experience. My ultimate goal will be to begin the process of professionalizing the Sheriff’s office and eventually obtain a Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) certification, thereby modernizing and professionalizing our Sheriff’s Department.

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