Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $340,000)
Intellectual property (IP) is recognized as a pertinent asset to our economy, which according to the Global Intellectual Property Center, contributes billions of dollars to America’s gross domestic products, and employs over 45 million Americans; eluding that much of our nation’s assets is contingent upon intellectual property. To aggressively protect citizens in Cook County of these crimes, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department (CCSPD) Special Operations Unit would like to build upon the existing IP taskforce to police and combat IP crimes. The Special Operations Unit has developed tangible and sustainable IP investigation tactics that have proven successful in combatting IP thefts within Cook County. The efforts of the Unit have already been established over the years and are currently embedded into the scope and operations of the unit.
The goal for the CCSPD Special Operations Unit IP Taskforce is to enhance the capacity of the unit’s existing partnership efforts with the IP theft enforcement taskforce. This will be achieved through the continual collaboration with other law enforcement agencies which includes local, state, and federal bureaucracies. This enhancement would significantly advance the unit’s endeavors in monitoring and combatting counterfeit/piracy activities in Cook County and afford them the opportunity to expand their capacity into untapped territories.
To achieve this goal the taskforce will be comprised of officers located in the CCSPD Special Operation Unit in conjunction with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The taskforce will be responsible for meeting monthly as well to discuss updates, potential threats, investigation process, analysis and prosecution of matters involving IP. This allows the opportunity for the IP taskforce to share information of new and/or existing areas that have been identified as potential hot spots for IP theft activities; work in tandem with United States Customs and Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to fight counterfeiting; collect data to show possible IP links to organized crime, criminal gangs, and/or drug trafficking; utilize surveillances tactics to identify new areas and monitor existing areas that have been identified as potential hot spots for IP theft activities. The Cook County Sheriff’s Police (CCSPD) Special Operations Unit will conduct its investigations through undercover work, surveillance, and cultivating tangible working relationships with other law enforcement entities; conduct quarterly meetings to discuss progress and identify manufacturers of counterfeit trademarks as well as large scale importers.