skip to main content
The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Brian Namey, bnamey@naco.org; Evan Shields, evan.shields@dupageco.org

Thursday, May 12, 2022

DuPage County Earns Two National Achievement Awards

DuPage County has received two Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

NACo recognized the DuPage County Sheriff’s tattoo removal and cover-up program and the County’s partnership with DuPage PADS Interim Housing Center.

“We are pleased that once again, DuPage County’s creative and innovative services have captured national attention. We are grateful for the recognition from NACo and for the opportunity to share information about these initiatives with government leaders across the nation,” said County Board Chairman Dan Cronin.

DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick started providing tattoo removal as part of a gang-cessation and jobs program created to reduce recidivism at the DuPage County jail. Once tattoos are removed or covered up, the action signifies an inmate’s commitment to a gang-free future.

“We created the program based on our inmates’ strong desire to leave the gang life. No one had ever shown them another path or given them some of these opportunities. We have removed or covered up 48 gang tattoos so far and over 100 inmates are on a waiting list to have their tattoos removed,” said Sheriff Jim Mendrick. “This opportunity is something new to them and their desire to improve themselves within our facility is significant.”

The DuPage PADS Interim Housing Center provides emergency housing for persons experiencing homelessness in DuPage County. The County Board voted in December 2021 to provide $5 million in federal COVID relief money to DuPage PADS to buy and remodel a former hotel and convert it into a space for people and families to recover from their housing crisis and identify permanent housing options.

“The Interim Housing Center completely transforms the way individuals experiencing homelessness receive shelter and services. Rather than moving between the night-by-night shelter locations, families and individuals now have a place to land and heal,” said Julie Renehan, Chairwoman of the County’s Health and Human Services Committee. “The center gives people the privacy, safety, and dignity they need to gather themselves and work their way back toward self-sufficiency and housing stability.”

NACo President Larry Johnson said, “All across the country, counties are working tirelessly to support residents and drive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties work every day to build healthy, safe and thriving communities.”

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.