Rough Timeline of Cook County Courthouse Escape As Investigative Reporting Opens


Jonathan Scott, who escaped Wednesday July 20, 2016 from Cook County Courthouse, was at large for more than three hours. The potentially dangerous criminal escaped from the courthouse at the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and Wilke Road at about 2:00 p.m. He was captured about 5:10 p.m.

Jonathan Scott, who was described as homeless, has a criminal history that includes a conviction in 2011 for aggravated battery to a police officer, criminal trespassing in 2014; and eight misdemeanors between 2014 and 2016. He has served various amounts of jail time. As a homeless individual, he is presumed to have adapted to moving about in neighborhoods, living outdoors and hiding or trespassing on various properties. He is also presumed to have the unknown potential for violence in the course of his escape.

Scott’s most recent arrest occurred on Saturday July 16, 2016 at a Motel 6 in Elk Grove Village when police responded to a report of a loud bang in a room, the 9-1-1 caller reported hearing called a man yell expletives at the woman and saying “I’ll burn all your stuff,” according to prosecutors.

While the opportunity for an escape inside the Cook County Courthouse is a concern, there is also concern regarding the amount of time the escapee was at large before Cook County Sheriff’s Police, Arlington Heights Police and Rolling Meadows Police notified the public about the escaped criminal. All three police agencies use encrypted radio communications on ALL of their emergency talk groups, so no news media agencies, neighborhood watch groups or citizens have real-time awareness of public safety emergencies involving law enforcement responses.

The Cardinal is seeking witnesses and victims to report any sightings, contacts, or victimizations that may have occurred in the three plus hours between the time Jonathan Scott escaped and the time he was captured.

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Following is a rough draft of the Wednesday July 20, 2016 TIMELINE …

Just before 2:00 p.m. Prisoner Jonathan Scott — while handcuffed to a table in a holding room, and waiting to be transferred to the county jail — was able to escape from his handcuffs. He attempted to leave through an adjoining courtroom where the door was locked. Cook County Sheriff’s deputies found him free of his restraints, and restrained him again with handcuffs. The deputies then left him alone in the room again.

2:00 p.m. Jonathan Scott escaped his handcuffs again, he then walks out of the courthouse, and witnesses report seeing him take his shirt off while running away from the courthouse.

3:50 p.m. The Cardinal — receives a tip from a resident that numerous police officers are in the area of Oakton Street and Yale Avenue and that a helicopter is overhead. Also, a tip is received that there is extra police activity at the courthouse. Many other tips stream in following the first tip.

4:05 p.m. Cardinal on scene at Northwest Highway and Yale Avenue. Police seem to be organizing a command post nearby, and have a perimeter set up along Northwest Highway and the neighborhood north of Northwest Highway. There is also police activity on the Union Pacific railroad tracks and south of the railroad tracks.

4:20 p.m. Arlington Heights activates Everbridge Emergency Notification (sometimes known as Reverse 9-1-1 or robocall) and notifies a limited number of Arlington Heights residents.

5:00 p.m. Police make a traffic stop on Harvard Avenue just north of Elm Street where a man in an SUV matches the description of the escapee. Police quickly determine that the man is not the suspect, and the man is released.

5:05 p.m. A police search helicopter arrives overhead to the neighborhood between Kaspar Avenue and Yale Avenue and Oakton Street and Northwest Highway.

5:10 p.m. Police announce the escapee is captured on Kaspar Avenue north of Northwest Highway after a resident discovers the escapee in a car in his garage.

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There are unconfirmed reports of an attempted home invasion and a bike theft involving the escapee that occurred between 2:00 p.m. and 5:10 p.m.

If you can fill in any observations, incidents, victimizations by the escapee or robocall information, please comment here or send a direct message to the page

Please don’t mention any individual’s names or addresses on the public comment section.

Increasingly law enforcement experts are recommending that police departments learn to utilize the public’s observational awareness to prevent and respond to a range of public safety emergencies, such as terrorism, active shooting incidents, and suspects at large.

An investigative report seeks to determine …

whether 2 hours and 20 minutes was too long to activate the robocall system,

whether the robocall system failed,

whether an ineffective decision was made regarding the selected range of the robocall-targeted neighborhood(s),

whether Village of Arlington Heights policy on notification of residents in a public safety emergency was effective,

whether Village of Arlington Heights policy allows police officers on the scene to effectively communicate with residents to inform citizens about the reason behind the police activity,

whether encrypted police communications on radio talkgroups hindered or delayed the opportunity to notify the most amount of people,

whether encrypted police communications and the associated lack of real-time information endangered the public while an escapee was at large,

whether a public police emergency radio dispatch channel would provide real-time updates monitored by media and social media channels that would provide greater advantage enhancing the public’s ability to notify police about the escapee’s tracking history or other related incidents, or would the public radio channel provide an advantage to the escapee,

whether the escapee would have been captured sooner if the public was not inhibited from hearing a general law dispatch radio communications and was able to notify police of a possible sighting of the suspect,

whether emergency communications between the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department was immediate and effective with Arlington Heights Police Department and the Rolling Meadows Police Department, and

whether the overall experience provides learning opportunities for improvements in public notification, including police cooperation with the public as observers and witnesses in public safety emergencies, especially with regard to more serious incidents, such as terror attacks on soft targets and mass shootings.

See also …
The Cardinal Good Neighbor Describes Finding Escaped Suspect in His Garage While Police Manhunt Progresses Through Neighbor’s Front Yard

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