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Illinois quick hits: Chicago officer commits suicide; suicide prevention hotline 988 launches | Illinois

Concerns raised after another Chicago officer suicide

As Chicago police officials deal with a series of officer suicides, the department’s former wellness advisor is calling the canceling of days off “inhumane” and called for a sweeping plan to address psychological issues with the department.

The latest tragedy occurred Saturday when a sergeant suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and died the next day. Alexa James said officers have recently complained they feel like just a number after having their days off canceled, a practice that is being used to address the department’s staffing issues.

New suicide prevention hotline launched

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health, in coordination with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is expanding Illinois’ mental health safety net by rolling out 988, a new, nationwide suicide prevention and mental health crisis line.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has existed since 2005, is now available nationwide via a three-digit dialing code – 988 – and is designed to make it easier for those in crisis to get the help they need.

Cook County workers committed fraud, report alleges

Four Cook County employees committed “financial fraud directed at the federal government” by wrongly collecting around $120,000 in payroll protection plan loans intended to help businesses survive the pandemic.

According to a new report from the county’s inspector general, three people work in offices under Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle that handle sensitive financial matters, while a fourth works at the county’s Board of Review.

Affordable housing grants awarded

The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board has announced conditional awards totaling nearly $12 million in Rebuild Illinois funding that will provide improvements to 27 affordable housing developments throughout Illinois.

In all, more than 1,400 units of affordable rental housing will see vital capital repairs that will address code violations, resolve security issues and improve the health and safety of both the buildings and their residents.

Scam warning issued by Secretary of State

Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding residents to be on alert for scams claiming to be from the Secretary of State’s office or from “Illinois DMV” seeking personal information to defraud Illinoisans.

White said there is a new round of attempts to entice the public into falling victim to scam texts and emails. The most recent scam is a text message stating, “Due to increased fuel prices, the State of Illinois has initiated rebate payments of $1500 per vehicle. Check eligibility.” Officials urge you not to click on the link.

Salmonella warning issued

Federal health officials are reminding people to stay safe around backyard poultry after two people died and nearly 600 others were sickened in Illinois and 47 other states.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked a recent salmonella outbreak to backyard birds such as chickens and ducks. Officials report Illinois has seen over 15 cases. Overall, about 23% of those who fell ill were children under 5-years old.

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