The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has launched a criminal investigation into the threats made that cancelled the annual Lake County Civil War Days event.
The Lake County Forest Preserve District announced Monday that the event scheduled for July 13 and 14 at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda was cancelled due to safety concerns.
“After consulting with local and state law enforcement agencies, we made the decision to cancel the event due to public safety concerns,” Lake County Forest Preserves Executive Director Ty Kovach said.
“Our number one concern is the safety of participating Lake County residents and visitors, reenactors and vendors, as well as our staff and volunteers operating the event. They are our top priority,” Kovach added.
Lake County Forest Preserve Public Safety Director John Tannahill said that there had been many ‘responses’ to information stemming from a June 11 Forest Preserves board meeting where Civil War Days was discussed.
“Some of these responses were very concerning,” Tannahill said, adding that cancelling is the best decision.
“The tension around the event this year has changed the tone. We are not going to take a risk. It’s our job to protect preserve visitors, and our employees and volunteers,” Tannahill said.
Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said that the sheriff’s office was contacted on Tuesday by Lake County Commissioner Dick Barr, who requested authorities to conduct a criminal investigation into the threats.
Covelli said that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office never received an official request from the Forest Preserve District to evaluate the safety concerns before the event was cancelled.
Investigators will now work to determine if the threats were criminal in nature, and if so, they will work to “hold those accountable who made such threats,” Covelli said.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reached out on Tuesday to the Lake County Forest Preserve and requested all of the documentation and information surrounding the threats made.
Investigators are working to schedule a meeting with the Lake County Forest Preserve Administration and Public Safety, Covelli said, adding that specifics of the threats have not been provided to the sheriff’s office yet.
“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing assistance and resources to the Lake County Forest Preserve and any other organizations, when requested,” Covelli said.
Civil War Days is an educational event that has taken place at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda for the past 27 years.