Specialized crime fighting unit taking drugs, weapons of streets

Photo by Ann Gill
GRUNDY COUNTY PROACTIVE Unit, a specialized law enforcement unit, was recognized by the village of Coal City and the Coal City Police Department for outstanding enforcement efforts during its first year of operation. Coal City Police Chief Chris Harseim [from left] presented a plaque to Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley, Grundy County Chief Deputy Eric Werden and unit members Sgt. Brent Black and Sgt. Aaron Corey with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department and Channahon police officer Michael Liebermann.

Ann Gill

In its first year Grundy County’s ProActive Unit is achieving its goals of combating crime throughout the country.

Led by the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department, The ProActive Unit—a specialized law enforcement unit—has seized more than 73,000 grams of narcotics and controlled substances and weapons, and made over 120 arrests.

The unit was conceived by Sheriff Ken Briley on the concept of working cooperatively to combat the multi-jurisdictional trafficking of illegal narcotics, controlled substances, dangerous drugs, guns, illegal street gang activity and other crimes.

Coal City is one of six police units from across Grundy County to join the unit. The department recently provided a $2,500 donation to support the program.

The team is commanded by the sheriff’s department with the sheriff’s chief deputy, Eric Werden, assigned to administer the ProActive Unit.

A sergeant from the sheriff’s office is assigned to conduct and coordinate investigations and assigning duties to officers providing manpower to the unit.

Coal City currently does not have an officer assigned to the unit, however Police Chief Chris Harseim has said he plans to get an officer working with the unit. This, he said, will come once the department’s new patrol officers complete their training and begin working independently.

The unit was activated in March 2021 and data through April 2022 shows the unit seized 73,618.96 grams of various drugs—762.39 grams of methamphetamine, 1,304.2 grams of heroin, 71,048 grams of cannabis, 67.6 grams of cocaine and 436.77 grams of other drugs.

Officers working the unit have made 123 arrests—68 felony, 35 from warrants and 20 misdemeanor.

Additionally, the unit has seized nine firearms, 10 vehicles and $16,334 in currency.

In recognition of its outstanding enforcement efforts in the village of Coal City and surrounding communities, the Coal City Police Department and village of Coal City recognized Sheriff Ken Briley and the ProActive Unit with a plaque of appreciation on June 8.

“Thank you for keeping our communities safe,” Harseim said.

Briley and Werden attended the Village Board’s meeting last week to accept the award. They were joined by Grundy County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brent Black, Sgt. Aaron Corey and officer Michael Liebermann from the village of Channahon.