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ere the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at: http://www.dukesblotter.com/#sthash.gzOejJCT.dpuf
Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at: http://www.dukesblotter.com/#sthash.gzOejJCT.dpuf

Officer Down

Thursday, April 30, 2009

NEWS: Man arrested for alleged abuse of 8-year-old

--Now, here is a candidate for pain--

April 30, 2009
By DAVID POLLARD dpollard@pioneerlocal.com

A Melrose Park man was recently arrested by Cook County Sheriff's Police officers for allegedly molesting an 8-year-old boy.

Nick Delaney, 23, of 2301 Mannheim Road, was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on April 28. He was placed under arrest at his residence, appeared in court April 30 and his bond was set at $100,000.

According to Cook County Sheriff's Police, Delaney was arrested after sheriff's police received a tip about the alleged abuse from a concerned acquaintance of the child's family. During interviews with sheriff's police detectives, Delaney, who is also an acquaintance of the child's family, admitted that on multiple occasions he had fondled the child, who was family relative.

Cook County Sheriff officials say the alleged abuse had taken place a couple of weeks prior to the arrest. If convicted he faces three to seven years in prison.

Delaney had no prior record and his next court date is May 5.

Illinois Police Pension Reform Web Group

In an effort to keep everyone involved and up to date I have started a web based group page that folks can join and participate. It is like a community forum for the pension cause. Check it out and please help me keep it busy.

http://pensionreform.ning.com/

TRAINING: Swine Flu

Since this is here and we have to worry about it, I thought I would post some information for you so you know what your dealing with and what you can do. Kind of like your one stop information center. All this info comes from the Center for Disease Control. Please, be safe. Hate to see someone bring it home to their family or something.
Duke


Questions & Answers
Swine Influenza and You

Swine Flu website last updated April 29, 2009, 10:55 PM ET

What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?
In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near Guadalupe County, Texas. Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.

Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. We recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
* Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting

How serious is swine flu infection?
Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than 200 cases with serious illness in several people and one death.

What is CDC doing in response to the outbreak? April 29, 2009, 10:55 PM ET
CDC has implemented its emergency response. The agency’s goals are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by the new virus. CDC continues to issue new interim guidance for clinicians and public health professionals. In addition, CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) continues to send antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment, and respiratory protection devices to all 50 states and U.S. territories to help them respond to the outbreak.

What epidemiological investigations are taking place in response to the recent outbreak?
April 29, 2009, 10:55 PM ET
CDC works very closely with state and local officials in areas where human cases of H1N1 (swine flu) infections have been identified. In California and Texas, where EpiAid teams have been deployed, many epidemiological activities are taking place or planned including:

* Active surveillance in the counties where infections in humans have been identified;
* Studies of health care workers who were exposed to patients infected with the virus to see if they became infected;
* Studies of households and other contacts of people who were confirmed to have been infected to see if they became infected;
* Study of a public high school where three confirmed human cases of influenza A (H1N1) of swine origin occurred to see if anyone became infected and how much contact they had with a confirmed case; and
* Study to see how long a person with the virus infection sheds the virus.
* Links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.

SCAVO TRIAL: Who are the players?

As published by the Proviso Herald.



Click here >>Cast of Characters<< for a picture file of the people involved in this trial.



OK, so I had to print it, scan it and save it just to post it. Has to be an easier way. I'll figure this out sooner or later.

SCAVO TRIAL: Testimony: Scavo's security team showed up in uniforms, squad cars

--I have to say, The Herald has been the only news source I have seen covering this trial. Aside from a few things in the beginning by the Trib all news sources have been pretty mute on this. Jolie Lee has been doing a good job of reporting things pretty fairly. Enjoy the news.--
Duke

April 30, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

The line between police work and security work blurred when businesses hired off-duty cops through former Police Chief Vito Scavo.

Scavo is on trial for extortion and racketeering charges, accused of running private security companies out of the police department and shaking down local businesses.

Scavo's guards often dressed like cops, drove squad cars like cops and -- in some cases -- were still on duty when performing the private security work, according to testimony.

Prosecutors argued wearing police uniforms and using police property for private security is a violation of both state regulations and the Melrose Park Police Department's standard operating procedure manual, which was signed by Scavo.

This blurring of public and private duties bothered one of Scavo's clients, Anthony Tiritilli, a developer for the Riverwoods condominiums at North Avenue and Thatcher Road, the residence of Mayor Ron Serpico.

Tiritilli testified Tuesday he and Scavo are family friends so he naturally called the former chief when break-ins occurred during construction in 2002.

Several months after hiring Scavo's guards, the Riverwoods site superintendent noticed the security guards were wearing police uniforms and driving police cars. He informed Tiritilli.

"I didn't like having the appearance of private security with police cars ... It didn't look good," Tiritilli said.

Tiritilli spoke with Scavo about his concern. Scavo's response, "They were off-duty cops and they had use of the car after their shift, and not to worry about it," according to Tiritilli's testimony.

At the end of the conversation, Tiritilli thought the guards would stop coming in the squad cars, but they continued to do so, he said.

Some of Scavo's other clients -- Cinemark, Allied Waste Services, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church -- have testified in the trial they saw security guards wearing police uniforms, a black windbreaker with the word 'police' across the back or a black short-sleeved polo with police insignia on the upper-left chest. These guards also used squad cars during their security shifts, witnesses said.

The defense said the owners did not know whether or not these squad cars were retired from police use.

At least one company specifically requested the security guards to come with the squad car.

Navistar started hiring security through Scavo's security firm in January 2002 to patrol the parking lot, testified Michael Bednarz, former human resources manager for Navistar, on Tuesday. In the previous year a former employee killed four employees and then killed himself. Bednarz said the police presence would help put employees at ease after the traumatic event.

Scavo charged $24 per hour for each guard and an extra $1 per hour for use of the squad car for seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Bednarz said he asked Scavo if off-duty cops would be called off their security work to do police work in case of an emergency.

"(Scavo) said, 'Absolutely not, they would be dedicated to the security,'" Bednarz said.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TRAINING: Cartels, gangs using Internet to recruit

By Rick Jervis
USA Today

The violence among Mexican drug cartels is not filling just the streets of Mexican border towns: It's also spilling into gruesome online videos and chat rooms.

The videos on YouTube and Mexican-based sites are polished -- professional singers croon about cartel leaders while images of murdered victims fade one into the next. In the comment area, those loyal to the opposing cartels trade insults and threats.

Such videos are used to intimidate enemies and recruit members by touting "virtues" of cartel leaders, says Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence for Stratfor, a Texas-based global-intelligence company.

Howard Campbell, an anthropologist at the University of Texas-El Paso who studies border issues, says the videos also signal how the cartels have evolved from pure moneymaking ventures to sophisticated groups with political agendas.

One YouTube video sympathetic to the Sinaloa Cartel opens with white lettering: "This is what happens to all my enemies." A singer launches into an up-tempo song against a montage of images: slain police officers, bullet-ridden police cruisers, shell casings, crumpled bodies.

Victoria Grand, head of policy for YouTube, says company officials have seen the cartel videos on their website but would not comment on specific videos.

She says YouTube does remove graphic, violent video if other users flag it as offensive and it lacks documentary or educational purposes. "If the video is clearly violent and the purpose is to shock or disgust, we will remove it," she says. YouTube officials have alerted law enforcement agencies to criminal activity posted on the site, she says.

The cartel videos emerged in 2005, soon after videos of foreigners being beheaded in Iraq appeared on insurgent websites, says Kent Paterson, editor of Frontera NorteSur, a New Mexico-based online news service, who follows the videos.

Early efforts showed prisoners bound and blindfolded, surrounded by armed guards. A declaration was read and the prisoner was executed, often by beheading -- mirroring the jihadist videos emerging from Iraq, Paterson says.

These were removed from sites such as YouTube. The cartels gradually replaced them with more sophisticated, better-produced efforts, Paterson says.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration monitors the videos for clues about the cartels and potential use as evidence in prosecutions, says Garrison Courtney, a DEA spokesman. "It's really changed ... how we target the cartels," he says. The cartels "absolutely" post videos and have an online presence, he says, though some followers or imposters also post on their behalf.

President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have pledged to help stop the violence. Mexico's government says cartel violence killed 6,290 people across Mexico last year and more than 1,000 in the first eight weeks of 2009.

Mexican officials study the videos and chats for hints about future killings, says Sergio Belmonte Almeida, a spokesman for Ciudad Juarez, on the border at the center of the violence.

In December, a member of the powerful Juarez Cartel entered a Mexican-based chat room and sparred with someone defending a rival cartel, Almeida says.

"Wait for the little gift we're going to leave for you tomorrow morning," the Juarez Cartel chatter warned, Almeida says.

The next day, he says, two decapitated heads were found in a large cooking pot outside Juarez.

TRAINING: Tips for "keeping it together" after a bad call

Topics & Tactics for Law Enforcement
with Scott Buhrmaster

If you’ve kept up on the news recently, you’ve read about some seriously horrendous incidents, from the beheading of a child in front of an officer to parents suddenly killing their families before killing themselves to multiple officers being ambushed and murdered.

What’s the common denominator in all of these incidents?

Cops are there dealing with them.

Although you can bet those officers are staying professional and doing what has to be done in the midst of a nightmare, there’s little doubt these incidents are taking an emotional toll. Here we explore “emotional first aid” tips you can use to help stabilize yourself and your family after you’ve dealt with a really bad call.

Have a plan to involve your spouse/significant other when things are bad
If your tendency is to clam up after a rough day and to completely avoid work-talk, consider changing your ways, particularly if you’ve just dealt with a traumatic call.

“It’s understandable that an officer who’s been subjected to an emotionally jarring incident would be hesitant to talk about it,” says Dr. Bill Lewinski, a seasoned expert in police psychology and executive director of the Force Science Institute. “However, keeping your spouse or significant other completely in the dark about what you’ve experienced could be a recipe for domestic disaster.”

Lewinski, a former Street Survival Seminar instructor who for years trained police officers and their spouses nationwide on emotional survival issues, says that doesn’t mean you need to tell your spouse every painful detail. “For some officers, that may not be helpful and could cause the unprepared wife or husband undue duress,” he says. “The point is to clue them in to the fact that you’re dealing with a painful experience so they have at least some understanding of why your behavior might change a bit.

“If your spouse senses that something is really bothering you, he or she may probe in an effort to be helpful,” says Lewinski, “If they’re not getting insight into what’s going on in your life, they may become increasingly concerned — and even angry — and their probing will likely continue. This can result in frustration on both sides, and could even end up with your spouse emotionally disconnecting with you, which will ultimately make things worse. Lack of communication can become a harmful wedge in your relationship.”

Lewinski suggests having a plan in place that can help you tip off your spouse without making things emotionally worse for yourself. “The idea is very similar to establishing an off-duty family survival plan,” he says. “In an off-duty plan, you establish a ‘code statement’ that immediately lets your family know that trouble is brewing. Prior to this, you have all developed an appropriate plan of action and each of you knows what to do to deal with the situation.

“An emotional survival plan is very similar,” says Lewinski. “You and your spouse develop a statement through which you can clue them in to the fact that you’ve been involved in a particularly trying incident and that you’re going to need help through their support and understanding. Depending on your personality — and your own personal needs when it comes to dealing with painful emotions — your family can take the action you’ve pre-determined is appropriate and helpful. If it’s to give you space and avoid probing, that’s what they know to do. If it’s to sit quietly while you vent, that’s what they’ll do.”

Lewinski cautions officers to remain aware of their spouses’ needs as well. “Certainly your direct involvement in a particularly bad incident makes you the center of concern,” he says. “But you can’t forget that watching a loved one navigate painful emotions can be extremely difficult for the loved ones around them. You need to make sure you get the space you need — if that’s what you need — but you’ve also got to realize that allowing yourself to remain isolated emotionally can be bad for your family and ultimately make things much worse for you. Remain aware of the fine line between giving yourself time to gather your thoughts and sliding into a hole of isolation and silence.”

Acknowledge that the incident was in fact horrific
“Some cops have a tendency to believe they’re supposed to be emotional super-humans, tougher than other people,” says Lewinski. “They buy in to the misguided idea that seeing bad things is just part of the job and letting it ‘get to you’ is a sign of weakness and ultimately of professional doom. ‘Tough up, suck it up and move on…they’ll be more where that came from.’

“Actually, the opposite is true. Yes, by virtue of their jobs, cops do see more bad things than most people. However, refusing to acknowledge that witnessing those things can be emotionally painful and believing that experiencing those emotions is a sign of weakness is what can ultimately jeopardize your ability to stay in this line of work for the long haul. Real strength comes in being honest and courageous enough to face painful emotions head-on and to navigate through them.”

If the incident was bad, say it was bad. Don’t minimize it and write it off as just being “part of the job” in an effort to avoid painful emotions.

Accept your lack of control
“One of the scenarios most feared by cops is one in which they have no control and no ability to help the helpless,” says Lewinski. “Sometimes that kind of scene plays out in front of them, like the officer who was recently forced to witness a child’s beheading and could do nothing about it.

“Other times, cops are called to the scene after the terrible deed has been done and they have to face the painful fact that they weren’t there to help prevent the incident and that they’re powerless to resolve the aftermath. What’s done is done and they’ve got no control over that. For police officers, who are driven to confront, prevent, and protect, that’s a nightmare.”

Lewinski suggests that one of the most helpful steps you should take after an event like that is to accept the facts, without second-guessing or dreaming up unrealistic ‘what if’s’ like, “What if I had driven to the call faster, what if I had said something differently, what if I had taken action sooner…”

“Sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing anyone could have done about it,” he says. “You can wish that weren’t so, but it is. It’s important to accept that. If you had no control, admit it...and believe it. This will help free you up from the burden of dealing with unwarranted guilt, which can make difficult times much worse.”

Don’t avoid discussions about a bad incident and if you have to, start them
Ever found yourself thinking, “I just want this day to be over so I can act like it never happened” or “The sooner I forget about this nightmare, the better!” All understandable thoughts, particularly after a bad incident, but following through on them is not advisable, says Lewinski.

“Humans have a natural tendency to bury thoughts, emotions, and images deep in their minds if they’re painful or if they make them feel vulnerable,” he says. “Police officers can be particularly susceptible to that. They can have a tendency to think, ‘Hey, if thinking about this incident hurts, then I’m just not going to think about it. I’ve got total control over myself. If I don’t want to think about it, I’m tough enough to just erase the whole thing and move on.’

“Some people can ‘compartmentalize’ their emotions, which basically means they hide them in a mental ‘box’ and move about their day without any sign of distress. Those emotions may surface later in a different setting, like when they get home, but when they’re on the job, it’s as though there’s nothing wrong at all. They just put the emotions in a ‘compartment’ and move on for the time being.”

Lewinski says he’s seen a couple of particularly common scenarios play out after a bad event, neither of which tend to prove helpful in the long run. “Sometimes cops get together over a few beers, talk about how bad the incident was for a little while, realize that it’s becoming too painful to think about, and switch the subject. ‘OK, that’s enough. Sonofabitch! What’s this f’ing world coming to anyway? Let’s talk about something else. I’m done with this!’

“Another way I’ve seen these incidents play through is for the cops involved to simply put their heads down, nod in silent acknowledgement of the nightmare they’ve been thrust into, then move on with some kind of silent pact that this incident won’t be brought up again unless it has to be.”

Lewinski points out that discussing a bad incident with fellow officers — others you trust — is crucial to keeping yourself mentally on course. “I’m not necessarily talking about a touchy feely hug session,” he says. “If that helps you, great, but for a lot of officers, that’s uncomfortable. What I’m talking about is having the courage to share the truth about your emotional reactions to a bad event not only with others who can benefit from your candor — like fellow officers who witnessed what you did — but also yourself.”

Give it time
“Officers often have a tendency to focus on immediate action and resolution. Sometimes, their lives depend on it. However, it’s absolutely essential that they realize that emotional recovery after a bad call doesn’t always happen in a short period of time,” says Lewinski. “Sometimes traumatic emotions can linger. They can go away and unexpectedly resurface or they can stay forefront in your mind for some time.

“The key is to give yourself the time you need to reconcile your response to the event,” he says. “If it’s taking more time than you expected to move through the feelings, or if they seem to go away and then suddenly surface again, like on the anniversary of a traumatic event or when you happen to drive by the scene again, don’t let that throw you. As we used to teach in the Street Survival Seminar, these are normal reactions to an abnormal situation.”

>>More tips for "keeping it together" after a bad call<<

SCAVO TRIAL: 'You don't say no to the chief'

April 29, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

As the extortion and racketeering trial of former police chief Vito Scavo enters its third week, the prosecution has laid out a pattern of intimidation, deception and lies. At the same time, the testimonies reveal a deep respect of Scavo from those around him.

While Scavo allegedly ran private security firms for more than a decade out of the police department and muscled businesses into hiring his firms, the chief surrounded himself with people who were loyal to him; in some cases, so loyal they were willing to break the law for him.

In secretly videotaped conversations played for jurors last week, a security guard for Scavo was caught telling a local restaurant owner not mention Scavo in interviews with federal agents.

"We have to cover him up now," Mario Dal Cerro said on the videotape. Dal Cerro also said he has known the chief "since I was a baby."

Melrose Park police officer Brian Jarecki testified the way to move up the ranks in the police department was to work security and do personal chores for Scavo. But he did these things, too, because he looked up to the chief.

"I respected and revered Chief Scavo," Jarecki said. "Part of it was, I wanted to make him proud."

That respect of Scavo may also have been fear of his power and authority. Fear of being bypassed for a promotion. Fear a liquor license would be taken away. Fear that police officers would pull over a truck for a weight check. Fear that police might not show up right away if there was an incident.

As Jarecki -- and others who testified before him -- put it, "You don't say no to the chief of police."

SCAVO TRIAL: Scavo's secretary: 'He was like father to me'

April 28, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

As former Police Chief Vito Scavo faces allegations he ran security companies out of the police department, one person -- besides Scavo himself -- can offer insight into what happened day-to-day in the police station: Scavo's secretary.

Jojette Laino testified April 28 that she typed invoices for Scavo's security clients, collected cash payments from restaurant owners and distributed cash payments to officers who performed security work.

Laino, who is married to a Melrose Park lieutenant, started working for Scavo when he became chief in 1995. They saw each other nearly everyday for years at work and even more so after 2001 when she moved into a house across the street from his on Braddock Drive.

Scavo is also accused of using cops to perform his personal chores. A Melrose Park officer testified last week one of these personal chores was driving to Scavo's home in Florida. Laino said she once saw two officers returning from one such trip.

"I happened to be sitting on my front porch," Laino said.

Laino said Scavo "was like a father to me." She admitted to initially lying to federal investigators about her involvement with Scavo's security companies.

Her testimony continues April 30.

SCAVO TRIAL: Prosecutors: Scavo charged for haunted house parking in Navistar lot

April 28, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

At then-Police Chief Vito Scavo's request, Navistar offered use of part of its parking lot in 2004 and 2005 for visitors to a haunted house across the street.

Navistar managers testified Tuesday they understood the haunted house was a community event and they would be helping the village. What Navistar managers did now know was Scavo stood to make money from use of the lot, charging $3 a car for parking, prosecutors alleged in Scavo's federal extortion and racketeering trial.

"We wanted to keep the community relations in a positive vein and do whatever we needed to do for the village of Melrose Park," testified Michael Bednarz, former human resources manager for Navistar.

Navistar, which has a sprawling engine-making facility on North Avenue, did not charge the village for use of the lot.

As a result of the federal investigation into allegations Scavo ran security companies out of the police department and shook down local businesses, Navistar managers found out one of their employees was paid as part of the alleged parking lot scheme. That employee was fired in 2006, Bednarz said.

Navistar started hiring security through Scavo in 2002.

NEWS: Northlake shuts door to new taverns

--This is strictly a move towards dryness. No idea why they would want a dry town. It is not like the bars in Northlake are rundown and rife with problems. Better enforcement of existing ordinances and laws would alleviate any problems they might experience. Like how they did this with no public notice that it was on the table or allowed any type of public input.--
Duke

April 28, 2009
By MARK LAWTON mlawton@pioneerlocal.com

New bars will not be allowed in Northlake under an ordinance passed on April 20.

The City Council unanimously voted to no longer issue Class DL or tavern licenses and Class DL licenses for businesses that devoted no more than 25 percent of their floor space to alcohol sales.

"Having bars and taverns creates more of an enforcement headache for police," said Mayor Jeff Sherwin, who also serves as liquor commissioner for the city.

"Police have to do walkthroughs of bars, need to make sure they close when they are supposed to be closing," Sherwin said.

As well, Sherwin said there isn't much benefit for the city government in new bars.

"It doesn't generate revenue for the city or enhance the image of the city," Sherwin said.

Alderman Francine Patti said the city is trying to promote a 'family friendly' image.

"We're (also) trying to build up the downtown area so it will become attractive to motorists as they come up North Avenue," Patti said.

The ordinance will not impact the existing four taverns in the city. Those are Alejandra's, Mad Tapper, All Stars and Pizza Joynt.

NEWS: (Northlake) Fines for minor offenses to increase

--Probably a good idea. But looks like a revenue maker. Definitely don't agree with community service option. Who is going to do the babysitting and what about the liability?--
Duke

April 28, 2009
By MARK LAWTON mlawton@pioneerlocal.com

On April 20, the Northlake City Council got tough on minor crime, passing ordinances that doubled fines for vandalism and outlawed panhandling.

Fines for vandalism and graffiti increased from $500 to $1,000.

"It's one of those aggravating crimes," said Police Chief Dennis Koletsos, adding that his main concern was gang-related graffiti.

"When we make arrests on that, we want to make sure that whoever is doing these types of crimes, that we don't appreciate those types of crimes," Koletsos said.

Koletsos said that the number of incidents remains fairly consistent.

Alderman Francine Patti, who heads the council's public safety committee, said the fine increase might have an impact.

"Ultimately, especially for those underage, it will hit the parent's pocketbook," Patti said. "Perhaps when they have to start paying for some of the actions that their children have done."

As for panhandling, Patti said it's on the upswing, particularly in front of chain stores on North Avenue including Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Home Depot and Walgreens.

"Some people (shoppers) feel intimidated by this," Patti said.

"I don't know if it's a sign of the economic times or they just found another community to panhandle in," Koletsos said.

The city council also voted to approve a community service work option for people convicted of minor crimes.

The ordinance was borrowed from the city of Western Springs and was brought to the attention of the city council by the city hearing officer.

The option would be offered at the discretion of the hearing officer as an alternative to a fine and would be optional for the person convicted.

"Many times people don't have the financial resources to pay fines," Koletsos said. "It's a hard situation for the hearing officer."

In fact, the city's hearing officer offered a community service option one day after it was approved by the city council, to a minor charged with possession of marijuana, said Patti.

Police Blotters April 29, 2009

>>Franklin Park, Northlake<<

>>Maywood, Melrose Park<<

Monday, April 27, 2009

SCAVO TRIAL: Bar owner: Police harassment stopped after hiring Scavo's firm

April 27, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

Melrose Park police officers harassed a local bar's customers until the bar hired security guards through former chief Vito Scavo's company at triple the cost of the previous security, according to testimony Monday in Scavo's extortion and racketeering trial.

Scavo is accused of forcing local businesses to use security companies he ran out of the police department using on-duty officers.

"It was like clockwork that (the police) harassed our customers," testified Shawn Gibala, former owner of Jefferson Tap & Grill, 2010 W. North Ave.

Four to five times a week, officers came to the bar at closing time, yelling at customers to leave the premises, Gibala said.

"Sometimes there were four squad cars with their lights gleaming," Gibala said. "If you're at a bar, the first thing you think is (a police officer) is going to pull you over. It deterred customers from coming."

Police took the bar's liquor license if customers were still in the bar minutes after the 4 a.m. cut-off time, Gibala said.

The defense said the officers were doing their job by enforcing the village-mandated closing time. The establishment was also the subject of neighbors' complaints and necessitated a police presence, said Tom Breen, Scavo's attorney.

Gibala said officers came at other times of the night to check customers' ID. Breen argued the police had reason to suspect underage drinking at Jefferson Tap -- a Melrose Park cop had caught his 18-year-old niece there once.

In early 2005, Gibala and his business partner Don Agee met with Scavo to discuss disturbances that had occurred at the bar. Prior to the meeting, Agee had told Gibala that Scavo's security company "might come up," Gibala recalled, and to "keep an open mind about it."

Jefferson was already hiring security guards on weekends at $10 per hour.

During the meeting, Scavo told the men that hiring his security guards "tended to take away problems," Gibala said.

Gibala's interpretation of Scavo's statement: No more cops showing up at the bar almost every night.

"My first initial thought was upsetting because I didn't feel we needed outside sources," Gibala said. He added, "I felt like we had no choice in the matter."

Jefferson Tap hired three guards for three days a week. The cost was $30 per hour. The police harassment stopped after Scavo's guards started working, Gibala said.

Jefferson Tap stopped using guards shortly after the federal investigation into Scavo's security companies was made public in September 2005.

"Since there was heat brought on Melrose Park, we thought that was a perfect opportunity to cut ties and go our separate ways," Gibala said.

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SCAVO TRIAL: Security firms' insurance questioned (part 2)

April 27, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

While working for former police chief Vito Scavo's security companies, off-duty cops were not covered by insurance.

When asked by clients to show proof of insurance, Scavo showed a certificate of insurance for another security company, the prosecution alleged April 23 in Scavo's federal trial.

Scavo faces extortion and racketeering charges related to running security firms out of the police department while chief from 1995 to 2006.

Managers from Jewel Food Stores and Center Point Properties, a property management company, testified April 23 they received documentation from Scavo showing his security companies -- DOD Security Consultants and Specialty Security -- were insured. Without insurance, they testified, their businesses could not hire security through Scavo.

However, the documentation Scavo sent was a certificate of insurance for IFPC Worldwide Inc., which is a licensed and insured security company, Alex Mrowiec, an accountant at IFPC, testified April 21. DOD Security was a consultant for IFPC but was not covered by IFPC's insurance, Mrowiec said.

When faxing IFPC's certificate of insurance to Jewel and Center Point, Scavo blocked out the part of the document that lists the certificate holder, according to prosecutors. In the contract with Jewel, which was signed by Scavo, someone had written in "operating division of IFPC" next to DOD Security, they said.

Although the certificate of insurance showed a Chicago address for IFPC, all invoices from DOD and Specialty showed a Melrose Park address -- Scavo's residence.

As a consultant, DOD Security brought security accounts to IFPC for a commission -- as much as $96,000 in a year. These accounts included Navistar, Lincoln Technical Institute and Riverwoods condominiums.

Off-duty cops who performed security work for these accounts were covered by IFPC's insurance. However, Jewel and Center Point were not IFPC accounts, and guards at those locations would not be covered under IFPC's insurance, Mrowiec said.

Scavo's companies were paid more than $20,000 for about two months of security at Center Point. Jewel hired DOD from early 2004 to the fall of 2005; in 2004 alone, Jewel paid DOD more than $120,000.

During a labor dispute at Jewel in 2003, the grocery store chain hired off-duty officers through Scavo to watch over the facilities on North Avenue in Melrose Park. That was after managers received telephoned death threats and police investigated an arson at the company headquarters.

In that same year, Center Point needed security during construction on a Melrose Park facility and also hired off-duty police through Scavo.

Joseph Nasca, senior vice-president of construction for Center Point, said a certificate of insurance was mandatory to sign a security contract. Without that certificate, he said, Center Point would not have signed a deal with Scavo.

"We don't want anyone to get hurt and not have insurance," Nasca said.

Even though Center Point had its own insurance, if a contractor did not have insurance, "It could have compromised that (insurance) protection," Nasca said.

Joseph D'Agostino, director of loss prevention for Jewel, said his company used IFPC for about a decade to perform background checks on employees, but never for security.

"I was surprised. I didn't realize (DOD Security and IFPC) were affiliated," D'Agostino said.

Pension Legislation Help

I received this letter from Senator Don Harmon today. He advised me that there is pending legislation that might be a benefit to us in getting the laws changed for police officers. THANK YOU Senator Harmon!!



The bill Senator Harmon is referring to is HB0923, Introduced 2/10/2009, by Rep. Daniel J. Burke

This is basically what the bill will do for firefighters:
40 ILCS 5/4-110 from Ch. 108 1/2, par. 4-110

Amends the Downstate Firefighter Article of the Illinois Pension Code. Provides that the term "act of duty" shall include any term or condition of employment assigned to any firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), or paramedic by his or her employing entity and is not limited in any fashion to a firefighting activity that involves a special risk of the occupation. Specifies that any activity performed by a firefighter, EMT, or paramedic assigned by a supervisor directly or indirectly constitutes an act of duty, including, but not limited to, routine maintenance, housekeeping chores, clerical tasks, and other assigned duties. Effective immediately.


A full text of the bill can be found >>HERE<<

As you can see if the firefighters get this passed it would definitely improve our chances of getting similar legislation passed for police officers. Good luck to them on this bill.

I hope everyone is beginning to see the importance in this endeavor. I will keep posting any and all information I get on this issue and will continue to keep you as educated as possible.

Keep up the fight,
Duke

R.I.P.: Texas Deputy Killed in Wreck

Adam D. Young
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Apr. 27--A Lubbock County sheriff's deputy was killed in a two-vehicle wreck early Sunday morning while answering a dispatch about a fight in progress.

Deputy D. Robert Harvey, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident that happened about 12:20 a.m. Sunday near CR 7130 and CR 2100 in Lubbock County, said Cpl. John Gonzales with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Harvey was driving north on CR 2100 in his patrol vehicle when it collided with a 2003 Ford pickup driven south on CR 2100 by Justin Dwight McKinney, 25, of Lubbock. McKinney was turning left onto CR 7130 when the vehicles collided head on. Harvey's vehicle was engulfed in flames and the deputy was trapped in the car.

The deputy was dispatched to a fight at the Palm Room in Lubbock when the collision occurred.

McKinney and passenger Justin Wade Walkup, 24, were taken to University Medical Center. Walkup was in critical condition and McKinney continued being treated for moderate injuries Sunday evening. McKinney and Walkup were not wearing their seatbelts, according to the DPS.

DPS investigators continued to investigate the accident and took blood samples from McKinney to determine if alcohol was a factor.

Lubbock sheriff's office Maj. Don Carter said the last officer from the department to die in action likely was deputy Rudy M. Gonzales in 1996. Gonzales died as a result of a traffic accident while responding to a domestic disturbance call, according to Carter and the national Officer Down Memorial Page Web site at www.odmp.org.

Harvey is survived by his wife, Tracy, and two children according to Calvillo Funeral Home in Lubbock. Funeral services at Calvillo for the deputy are pending.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

WARNING: U.S. declares Swine Flu "Health Emergency"

--Until they figure this out, be careful who you come into contact with. This stuff sounds nasty and has already proven to be deadly. BE SAFE !!!--
Duke

20 confirmed cases in 5 states
AP

April 26, 2009 (WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. is declaring a public health emergency to deal with the emerging new swine flu. The precautionary step doesn't signal a greater threat to Americans. But it allows the federal and state governments easier access to flu tests and medications

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napilotano says roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu are being released from a federal stockpile so that states can get it if needed.

Napilotano said at a White House news conference Sunday that the emergency declaration is standard operating procedure -- one was recently declare for the inauguration and for flooding.

Federal health officials say 20 cases of swine flu have been reported in five states so far. Officials expect more cases and more severe illness among Americans.

The acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Richard Besser, says that health authorities are looking for more cases and finding out more about the strain of swine flu reported in Mexico and the U.S.

Besser says things are moving fast and that authorities expect the virus to spread. But he assured Americans that health officials are taking action to minimize its impact.

The 20 cases reported so far are in New York, Ohio, Kansas, Texas and California.

Besser spoke at a White House news conference Sunday.

A deadly swine flu strain in Mexico has killed up to 81 people and likely sickened 1,324 since April 13.

President Barack Obama's Homeland Security Council is monitoring the outbreak, along with the State Department and the CDC.

R.I.P.: Alabama Officer Killed, Deputy Wounded in Standoff

The Associated Press

HEADLAND, Ala. --

Officers in southeast Alabama shot a suspect to death after he killed one police officer and badly wounded a sheriff's deputy, authorities said.

Police said they got a call Friday afternoon that 53-year-old Fred Davis was firing a shotgun into the air outside his trailer. Henry County Sheriff's Deputy Ted Yost was first on the scene, and Davis shot and wounded him with the shotgun, State Trooper Kevin Cook said.

Davis then shot and killed Headland Officer Dexter Hammond with a high-powered rifle before other arriving officers shot and killed him, Cook said.

Yost was in serious condition Saturday morning, according to Southeast Alabama Medical Center nursing supervisor Tracy Werstler.

Cook said it was too early to determine what Davis' motive might have been. He said investigators were talking to family members to learn what they could about him. The shotgun and rifle were the only weapons he had, the trooper said.

He said police and deputies from at least a half-dozen communities responded.

"We are a very tight-knit family," he said. "When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us."

Hammond was the former police chief in nearby Midland City.

R.I.P. : Two Florida Deputies Fatally Shot



The Associated Press

CRESTVIEW, Fla. --

A man accused of beating his wife killed two north Florida sheriff's deputies who caught up with him at a shooting range, then fled across the county line, where he died in an exchange of gunfire with deputies, authorities said.

It happened around 1 p.m. Saturday when the two Okaloosa County deputies went to Shoal River Sporting Clays and Shooting Center in response to a domestic violence call, sheriff's officials said.

Deputies Burt Lopez and Deputy Warren "Skip" York were pronounced dead after being airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, about 45 miles away, the sheriff's office said. Officials identified their killer as Joshua Cartwright, 28, of Fort Walton Beach.

Authorities said Cartwright, a U.S. Army Reserve soldier, shot both deputies and took off toward neighboring Walton County, where Walton County deputies killed him after an exchange of gunfire at a roadblock.

"It must have been like 30 or 40 shots," witness Mark Illich told The Northwest Florida Daily News.

Illich said he saw one officer putting down spikes at the intersection and knew "something's about to happen."

Then, "(Cartwright's) truck, he started coming. And we saw him, and he seemed calm as a cucumber," Illich said.

Cartwright veered around the spike strip, and an officer opened fire at the back of his truck, Illich said.

The incident began shortly after 10 a.m. when the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center notified the sheriff's office that Cartwright's wife said she had been beaten by her husband, according to a timeline released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the sheriff's office.

The two deputies found Cartwright at the shooting range and began trying to arrest him shortly before 1 p.m., but they reported that he was refusing to cooperate.

At 12:51 p.m. dispatchers received a call that an officer had been hit and began their search for Cartwright, who had left the shooting range in his truck.

Deputies shot and killed Cartwright around 1:10 p.m.

Cartwright had been arrested in November on a charge of domestic battery against his wife, Elizabeth Marie Cartwright, 21. That charge was still pending.

According the sheriff's office incident report, the couple had argued in a store parking lot. Cartwright told deputies that "things got out of hand when he heard enough of her shouting at him," and that he pushed her in the face with his open hand.

The Daily News reported that Cartwright had worked as a bouncer at a Fort Walton Beach bar. The sheriff's office said Cartwright also served in the U.S. Army Reserves and the 2008 arrest report listed the Army Reserves as his employer.

Lopez and York were wearing bulletproof vests, said Michele Nicholson, spokeswoman for the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.

"We're experiencing a range of emotions, from heartache and disbelief to numbness, that these men were taken from our agency, their family and friends, and their communities," Nicholson said. "Our focus right now is to take care of their loved ones, and each other, and continue to serve the public, as we work through this latest devastating event."

The slain deputies, both 45, were retired from the U.S. Air Force, Nicholson said. Lopez had five children and York had a 10-year-old son, according to the Daily News.

It was the latest in a series of traumatic episodes for the department.

Another Okaloosa County sheriff's deputy was shot and killed in July following a standoff with a man who had barricaded himself inside a home.

Gov. Charlie Crist suspended Okaloosa County Sheriff Charles Morris in February after he was arrested by FBI agents while on a gambling trip to Las Vegas.

Morris and his former office manager, Teresa Adams, were indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday on theft, money laundering and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege Morris and Adams created fictitious bonuses for sheriff's department employees then pocketed some of the money.

A man who answered the telephone at the shooting center near Crestview said he had no comment.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

SCAVO TRIAL: Restaurant owner told to lie to feds about Scavo's security firm

April 24, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

In secretly videotaped conversations played for jurors Friday, a security guard for former Police Chief Vito Scavo's company told a restaurant owner to "cover up" for the chief amidst a federal investigation made public in the fall of 2005.

Scavo is on trial for using police personnel and property to run private security companies that extorted local businesses.

In the first of two videos, both shot in February 2006, security guard Mario Dal Cerro stood in the restaurant El Gran Burrito as dishes clinked and figures moved past in the background.

The person Dal Cerro was talking to -- and the person shooting the video -- was El Gran Burrito's owner, Jesus Miguel Espinoza. The video, which was shown to jurors on Friday, appeared to be shot from a camera hidden on Espinoza's body. He was eliciting the evidence on behalf of FBI agents.

Espinoza testified on Friday that he first hired guards through Scavo in 2003 after Melrose Park officers harassed his customers for years.

In the video, Espinoza told Dal Cerro, "They came over again," referring to the federal investigators.

"Oh man," Dal Cerro said. "I didn't know they came back ... I can't believe they keep coming."

Espinoza paid $300 every weekend for two guards, one for Friday night and one for Saturday night. The payment was always made in cash to Scavo at the police department on the following Monday and later given to Dal Cerro at the end of his Saturday shift.

In the video, Dal Cerro said the $300 was split evenly between the guards and Scavo.

"It's $100, $100 and the chief gets his money," Dal Cerro said. "We might have to cover up for him now."

Dal Cerro said federal agents knew the guards made $20 per hour, "so don't lie on that one." He then instructed Espinoza to tell investigators that the guards were paid individually at the end of the night.

Dal Cerro said he was worried about not filing taxes on the cash he made from security, saying, "I didn't file [expletive] last year."

Later in the conversation, Dal Cerro mentioned Scavo was in Florida so he could not tell the chief what was going on.

In the second videotaped conversation, shot a week later, the men are again in the restaurant, seated this time. Dal Cerro admitted he might have made a mistake telling Espinoza the chief was paid $100.

He told Espinoza to "uphold your part" and reassured him that they were doing nothing wrong.

"Once everything is straight with you, straight with me, it's over," Dal Cerro told Espinoza in the videotape.

"I love you like a brother," Dal Cerro said, which drew laughter from a few jurors. "I would do nothing to hurt you."

Dal Cerro pleaded guilty to witness tampering in 2007.

SCAVO TRIAL: Cop: You do chores for the chief, you get promoted

April 24, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

The way to move up in the Melrose Park Police Department was to do personal chores for then-chief Vito Scavo.

For Brian Jarecki, that meant picking up or dropping of cars in Florida for Scavo.

Jarecki testified Friday at Scavo's trial on racketeering charges.

He told jurors he gassed and washed Scavo's personal car, gassed and washed Scavo's wife's car and picked up laundry. The defense said Scavo's car was used for official police business.

Jarecki always agreed to perform these chores because, he said, "I wasn't going to say no to the chief of police."

Jarecki made two trips to Florida in 2004 and two more in 2005. Each trip usually lasted seven to eight days, meaning Jarecki would miss about five shifts during each trip. However, he was still paid for the police work he missed.

The chores were a good career move for officers, he said.

"People who did favors for the chief got promoted or got different assignments," Jarecki testified.

After he started making trips to Florida, Jarecki was promoted to be an officer in the tactical unit.

He is now a patrol officer for Melrose Park Police Department.

Jarecki's testimony continues April 27.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Scavo trial: Security firms' insurance questioned


April 23, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

During a labor dispute at Jewel Food Stores in 2003, the grocery store chain hired off-duty officers through former Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo to watch over facilities on North Avenue in Melrose Park.

That was after managers received telephoned death threats and police investigated an arson at the company headquarters.

In that same year, property-management company Center Point Properties needed security during construction on a Melrose Park facility and also hired off-duty police through Scavo.

Managers from both companies testified today (April 23) in Scavo's federal trial that they received documentation from Scavo showing his security companies -- DOD Security Consultants and Specialty Security -- were insured.

Prosecutors argued Scavo did not have insurance for his companies. The former chief falsely claimed he had an affiliation with a licensed, insured company, IFPC Worldwide Inc., prosecutors said. An accountant from IFPC, Alex Mrowiec, testified Tuesday that Scavo had no such affiliation with IFPC.

The only relationship DOD Security had with IFPC was as a consultant, the accountant said. DOD Security brought security accounts to IFPC for a commission -- as much as $96,000 in a year, he said. However, Jewel and Center Point were not IFPC accounts, and guards there would not be covered under IFPC's insurance, Mrowiec said.

Joseph Nasca, senior vice-president of construction of Center Point, said a certificate of insurance was mandatory. Without one, he said, Center Point would not have entered into a contract with Scavo.

"We don't want anyone to get hurt and not have insurance," Nasca said.

Even though Center Point had its own insurance, if a contractor did not have insurance, "It could have compromised that (insurance) protection," Nasca said.

Scavo faxed IFPC's certificate of insurance to Jewel and Center Point, blocking out the part of the document that lists the certificate holder, according to prosecutors. In the contract with Jewel, someone had written in "operating division of IFPC" next to DOD Security, they said.

All invoices from DOD and Specialty showed a Melrose Park address -- Scavo's residence.

Joseph D'Agostino, director of loss prevention for Jewel-Osco, said his company used IFPC for about a decade to perform background checks on employees, but never for security.

"I was surprised. I didn't realize (DOD Security and IFPC) were affiliated," D'Agostino said.

R.I.P. : Georgia Officer Killed in Motorcycle Crash


ANGIE THOMPSON
Courtesy of The Tifton Gazette

TIFTON, Ga. -- City of Tifton employees are still reeling from the news of the death of police officer Terry Adams following a wreck between his patrol motorcycle and a truck at noon Wednesday at the intersection of Potts Road and Tift Avenue.

"Terry was very dedicated to his job," said Tifton Police Chief Jim Smith. "We are all a family here and the thing about it is, his primary job was to keep accidents from happening."

Smith and other city employees were at the main fire station eating lunch when they heard over the speaker system that there had been a wreck with injuries in front of the Tift Avenue Dairy Queen. Smith and several others left and went to the scene. After city employees got the news that Adams had been seriously injured, Tift City Council member Roosevelt Russell included prayers for Adams in his prayer to bless the food.

Adams, 38, was a seven-year veteran of the Tifton Police Department. He served as a motorcycle officer with the department's traffic division for two years.

"I knew Terry and he was one of Tifton's finest," said Tifton Mayor Jamie Cater. "We wish all of his family at the city and his extended family the best. This was a big hit."

According to a press release from the TPD, Adams was riding the patrol motorcycle south on Tift Avenue when the motorcycle collided with a truck. Adams was responding to another officer's call for assistance. The driver of the truck and a passenger in the truck were transported to Tift Regional Medical Center for injuries. The Georgia State Patrol's Tifton Post 13 is investigating the wreck and no further information was available late Wednesday afternoon. Troopers and other officers stayed at the scene until late Wednesday.

Numerous uniformed officers and criminal investigators with the TPD, employees of the court system and employees in other city departments gathered at the scene of the wreck Wednesday. Some of them helped direct traffic away from the area. Some of them stayed at the scene for hours after the wreck. Others went to Tift Regional Medical Center and stayed there hoping the news would be better.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Adams' family and friends during this tragedy," the press release stated.

Funeral arrangements for Adams are incomplete and will be announced by Albritton-Beaumont Funeral Directors.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SCAVO TRIAL: Church told to hire from police chief's firm

April 23, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

A former employee of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church testified in federal court Friday she hired former police chief Vito Scavo's security company for the church, even though she would have preferred to hire her brother-in-law.

Scavo is on trial since April 14 for allegedly operating private security firms out of the police department and shaking down local businesses for security contracts.

In the fall 2003, Our Lady planned to start renting out space for events as a way to raise money for the church. Maria Padilla was the church's business manager at the time and in charge of the renting. Because some events would have hundreds of people and serve alcohol, the church decided to hire security.

Padilla said she wanted to hire her brother-in-law, a Schiller Park police officer and a parishioner at the church. The church's pastor at the time suggested Padilla contact the police department as a courtesy call prior to hiring any security.

Padilla and Scavo met one-on-one in the former chief's office at the police station.

Padilla recounted what Scavo told her at the meeting, "(He said) it was best for us to have Melrose Park police officers because they are more familiar with the community ... and in case of an emergency."

According to the testimony, Scavo said the church needed two security guards costing $150 each. The church had to pay for the security within a week in cash, Padilla testified.

Scavo did not tell Padilla that he would benefit financially from the arrangement.

Asked by the prosecution if she was given a choice between hiring her brother-in-law or Scavo, Padilla said, "My brother-in-law."

"He would have been happy to help out and not charge a lot of money," Padilla said.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Supreme Court decision on vehicle searches incident to arrest

--The following is a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on warrantless searches of vehicles incident to an arrest. It sets up some pretty ridiculous restrictions on you. This is just the syllabus, the whole decision and remarks can be read here:

>>Arizona v. Gant<<--
Duke

SYLLABUS
OCTOBER TERM, 2008
ARIZONA V. GANT


SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

ARIZONA v. GANT

certiorari to the supreme court of arizona

No. 07–542. Argued October 7, 2008—Decided April 21, 2009

Respondent Gant was arrested for driving on a suspended license, handcuffed, and locked in a patrol car before officers searched his car and found cocaine in a jacket pocket. The Arizona trial court denied his motion to suppress the evidence, and he was convicted of drug offenses. Reversing, the State Supreme Court distinguished New York v. Belton, 453 U. S. 454—which held that police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle and any containers therein as a contemporaneous incident of a recent occupant’s lawful arrest—on the ground that it concerned the scope of a search incident to arrest but did not answer the question whether officers may conduct such a search once the scene has been secured. Because Chimel v. California, 395 U. S. 752, requires that a search incident to arrest be justified by either the interest in officer safety or the interest in preserving evidence and the circumstances of Gant’s arrest implicated neither of those interests, the State Supreme Court found the search unreasonable.

Held: Police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if it is reasonable to believe that the arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. Pp. 5–18.

(a) Warrantless searches “are per se unreasonable,” “subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions.” Katz v. United States, 389 U. S. 347, 357. The exception for a search incident to a lawful arrest applies only to “the area from within which [an arrestee] might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.” Chimel, 395 U. S., at 763. This Court applied that exception to the automobile context in Belton, the holding of which rested in large part on the assumption that articles inside a vehicle’s passenger compartment are “generally … within ‘the area into which an arrestee might reach.’ ” 453 U. S., at 460. Pp. 5–8.

(b) This Court rejects a broad reading of Belton that would permit a vehicle search incident to a recent occupant’s arrest even if there were no possibility the arrestee could gain access to the vehicle at the time of the search. The safety and evidentiary justifications underlying Chimel’s exception authorize a vehicle search only when there is a reasonable possibility of such access. Although it does not follow from Chimel, circumstances unique to the automobile context also justify a search incident to a lawful arrest when it is “reasonable to believe evidence relevant to the crime of arrest might be found in the vehicle.” Thornton v. United States, 541 U. S. 615, 632 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment). Neither Chimel’s reaching-distance rule nor Thornton’s allowance for evidentiary searches authorized the search in this case. In contrast to Belton, which involved a single officer confronted with four unsecured arrestees, five officers handcuffed and secured Gant and the two other suspects in separate patrol cars before the search began. Gant clearly could not have accessed his car at the time of the search. An evidentiary basis for the search was also lacking. Belton and Thornton were both arrested for drug offenses, but Gant was arrested for driving with a suspended license—an offense for which police could not reasonably expect to find evidence in Gant’s car. Cf. Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U. S. 113, 118. The search in this case was therefore unreasonable. Pp. 8–11.

(c) This Court is unpersuaded by the State’s argument that its expansive reading of Belton correctly balances law enforcement interests with an arrestee’s limited privacy interest in his vehicle. The State seriously undervalues the privacy interests at stake, and it exaggerates both the clarity provided by a broad reading of Belton and its importance to law enforcement interests. A narrow reading of Belton and Thornton, together with this Court’s other Fourth Amendment decisions, e.g., Michigan v. Long, 463 U. S. 103, and United States v. Ross, 456 U. S. 798, permit an officer to search a vehicle when safety or evidentiary concerns demand. Pp. 11–14.

(d) Stare decisis does not require adherence to a broad reading of Belton. The experience of the 28 years since Belton has shown that the generalization underpinning the broad reading of that decision is unfounded, and blind adherence to its faulty assumption would authorize myriad unconstitutional searches. Pp. 15–18.

216 Ariz. 1, 162 P. 3d 640, affirmed.

Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Scalia, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a concurring opinion. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion. Alito, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy, J., joined, and in which Breyer, J., joined except as to Part II–E.

SCAVO TRIAL: Testimony: Scavo strong-armed businesses

April 21, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

Federal prosecutors said former police Chief Vito Scavo personally received as much as $6,400 a month in commissions for referring businesses to IFPC Worldwide Inc., a private security firm.

The prosecutors in Scavo's extortion and racketeering trial accuse the former chief of strong-arming local businesses to hire security through him. Scavo is also accused of misrepresenting that his own private security company, DOD Security Consultants, was a subsidiary of IFPC. IFPC is licensed and insured; DOD is not.

Scavo brought the customers -- Navistar, Cinemark, Lincoln Technical Institute, Riverwoods condominiums, Sports Zone and Oak Park River Forest Mall -- and IFPC paid a "finder's fee," Alex Mrowiec, IFPC's accountant, testified today.

How the commission was calculated varied based on the account. On some accounts, prosecutors said, Scavo received a flat fee, such as $200 a week. On one account, he received $3.77 for every hour worked, they said.

At first, the commission was paid by check and later by two wire transfers -- one to DOD's bank account and one to Scavo's personal bank account, Mrowiec said.

"(Scavo) said it was to pay for his mortgage and car," Mrowiec said.

The amounts varied month to month. In one month, prosecutors said, Scavo received $2,400 in his account and $2,300 in DOD's account; in another month, Scavo received $1,600 and DOD received $3,400.

DOD provided security to businesses, including bars, that did not have accounts with IFPC, the prosecution argued.

Mrowiec testified IFPC does not provide security at bars because the company's insurance does not cover that type of work.

"If we provided security there (to bars), our policy would most likely be canceled," Mrowiec said.

In preparation of a possible sale, and unrelated to the charges against Scavo, the owner of IFPC ended his agreement with DOD in June 2008. As part of the termination agreement, Scavo received $50,000.

The trial continues Thursday with more of Mrowiec's testimony.

Red light violations not as high as expected

April 21, 2009
By MARK LAWTON mlawton@pioneerlocal.com

Northlake Police are not seeing as many violations as expected now that red light enforcement cameras have been installed at two intersections.

After a warning period, a red light enforcement camera went live on Jan. 27 for eastbound traffic on North Avenue at Railroad Avenue and on March 7 for eastbound traffic on Lake Street at Railroad Avenue.

"We had quite a few more violations (that weren't ticketed) during the warning period than we are now," said Police Chief Dennis Koletsos. "Half the amount we anticipated through a survey."

Between going live and March 30, enforcement cameras generated 111 tickets. Each ticket means a $100 fine if the driver is convicted.

Police Commander Cynthia Knipp said the red light enforcement cameras are doing "a great job."

"The police can't be at every intersection all the time," Knipp said. "The more people are familiar with it, the more violations will go down. It's made them be more cognizant of their driving habits."

Police Blotters April 22, 2009

>>Franklin Park, Northlake<<

>>Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood<<

>>Elmwood Park<<

>>Oak Park<<

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SCAVO CASE: Trial paints two pictures of former chief

April 21, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

When former Melrose Park police Chief Vito Scavo was indicted nearly two years ago, the Chicago Family Secrets mob trial had just started. The charges against Scavo and six other police and village employees sounded more fitting for former mobsters than employees of the police department.

An FBI agent at a press conference even said, "You might think we're talking about the Chicago Outfit."

Scavo's extortion and racketeering trial started last week in federal court in downtown Chicago. The former chief is accused of forcing local businesses to hire private security firms he allegedly ran out of the police station using on-duty officers and police property.

The details -- cash-filled envelopes to police officers, profanity-laced meetings with local business managers -- are becoming public during what is expected be a month-long trial.

Many of the institutions that fell victim to Scavo's alleged scheme are well-known institutions: Kiddieland, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Navistar, Jewel Food Store and Cinemark, among others.

Ultimately, jurors will decide between two versions of Scavo. In the opening statements April 14, the prosecution painted the former chief as an opportunistic bully who used his official powers for financial gain.

The defense called attention to Scavo's 30-plus years on the force, as chief from 1995 to 2006. The security jobs were ways to help under-paid police officers. The charges against the former chief, the defense said, are trumped-up.

Scavo, 61, has used a hearing-assistance headpiece during the trial as the witnesses described him as "angry," "upset," and "agitated" in their encounters with him. One witness described Scavo in an e-mail as "a real bear."

Fraternal Oder of Police Support

Yesterday, April 20, I had a very nice phone conversation with Ted Street, President of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police. He was very supportive of this cause and is turning over the information I provided to the F.O.P. Legislative Team. He asked that I keep him updated on my personal case and also gave his approval for me to contact the local lodges directly for support in getting the petitions signed.

I prepared and sent letters, flyers, and petitions to the biggest lodges I could get information on. Chicago Lodge 7, CCSPD Lodge 4, and ISP Trooper's Lodge 41. As I have more funds available I will be mailing flyers and petitions to local departments. This is a self funded endeavor so it takes me a while to do mailings.

The responses and support have been steady, I think it is going well. As word of this cause travels I think it will pick up wide scale support from all over the state.

Thanks to everyone for your help and support. Keep up the fight and be safe.

Duke
(Earl)

Theater paid double for security required by chief -- testimony


April 20, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

Managers of a national movie theater chain said former police chief Vito Scavo threatened that a Melrose Park theater would not open unless they hired security guards through him.

Scavo dictated the number of guards and the price for the security at Cinemark -- double the cost of security at the theater chain's other locations nationwide, according to testimonies Monday.

The defense said more security was necessary with surrounding gang problems and union picketing at the Melrose Park location.

The former chief is accused of forcing local businesses and institutions to use private security companies he allegedly ran out of the police station. One of these companies, IFPC Worldwide Inc., formerly County Line Security, paid a commission to Scavo.

Prior to the Melrose Park grand opening in early 1999, Cinemark managers tried to arrange for off-duty police officers to provide security at the theater. The Texas-based chain typically used one or two off-duty officers on Friday and Saturday nights, testified Marc Wolfe, Cinemark director of facilities.

However, Scavo wanted more officers to be hired, insisting there was a previous arrangement, Wolfe said.

Under the agreement with Scavo, instead of one or two guards, Cinemark hired four guards on Friday and Saturday nights, plus one and two guards at other times. Scavo charged $30 per hour per guard. At that time, the most Cinemark paid for security was $25 per hour per guard.

Cinemark paid more than $6,000 a week to County Line. Scavo never told the Cinemark managers he would make money off of the deal.

In a December 1998 meeting in Scavo's office at the police station, Wolfe said he and another Cinemark manager met with Scavo. Then-village consultant Anthony Bruno also joined the meeting and stayed, Wolfe said.

Wolfe described Scavo's reaction as "very angry" when he heard about the theater's plan to hire one or two guards.

"(Scavo) started using profanity," Wolfe testified. "He was very loud, almost yelling. I felt like it went on forever, but it probably lasted just a few minutes -- I was kind of in shock."

Scavo claimed there was a "prior arrangement" to hire more guards as part of the original real estate deal, quoting a number Wolfe did not recall but remembered was higher than the one or two guards the theater planned on hiring.

Bruno then "went off into a tirade," Wolfe said. Bruno told them, "If we didn't adhere to the original deal, we wouldn't get our certificate of occupancy to operate the theater," according to the testimony

In other words, the theater's opening would be delayed or the theater would not open at all.

"How did you take what (Bruno) said?" asked Asst. U.S. Atty. Scott Drury.

"It was a threat," Wolfe said.

Bruno is president of an economic development firm the village hired for eight years to consult on various development projects. Unrelated to Scavo's trial, Bruno pleaded guilty to tax fraud in February 2009.

Skeptical that the agreement Scavo referred to really existed, Wolfe talked to his supervisor but was unable to confirm that Cinemark and Melrose Park had entered into a security agreement.

In January 1999, Wolfe again met with Scavo and Bruno, this time with Cinemark director of security Daniel Myers. Wolfe said he was determined to reach an agreement so the theater's opening would not be jeopardized.

Wolfe described the second meeting as a repeat of the first. Again, Scavo's tone was "very angry, upset," Wolfe said. The number of guards Scavo originally stated in the first meeting then doubled in this second meeting.

Myers had brought to the meeting statistics of security levels at other Cinemark locations.

"(Scavo and Bruno) wanted to make us stick to the levels that had allegedly been agreed upon," Myers testified.

"Mr. Bruno made it clear to me ... if we didn't go along with the alleged plan that we may face a delay in the opening of the theater," Myers said. "That would cost us a lot of money."

After the second meeting, Cinemark agreed to hire County Line Security.

The defense tried to distance Scavo from Bruno's comments.

Scavo's attorney Tom Breen asked Myers, "This Bruno guy said it, not Chief Scavo, isn't that right?"

"Correct," Myers said.

Cinemark still hires security through IFPC.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mother of slain daughters blasts killers

--Serrano is originally from Northlake and was a member of our faction of the Maniac Latin Disciples--
Duke


April 20, 2009

BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter

With a wad of tissues in her hand and tears streaming down her cheeks, Rita Sallie told her daughter’s killers her generous and big hearted middle child probably forgave them but that Sallie still seethes over the thought of the two “insignificant, pathetic nobodies.”

“This child would take her birthday money and buy Christmas presents for everyone else. ... Knowing her, she's probably forgiven them. She may have forgiven them, but I hate them. I have a fiery hatred for both," Sallie said this afternoon before Cook County Judge Nicholas Ford sentenced Tony Serrano to 85 years in prison and Mwenda Murithi to 55 years in prison for Schanna Gayden’s murder.

Sallie called Murithi, 27, an “arrogant wannabe outsider” and 20-year-old Serrano, a “stupid spineless follower” for their involvement in the June 25, 2007 gang-related shooting, in which Schanna was gunned down in a park behind a Logan Square school.

Schanna, 13, had been buying watermelon when she was caught in the gang crossfire and shot in the head. “I saw my baby lying in the park, eyes open and staring with bits of her favorite fruit scattered around her,” Sallie said, her voice cracking.

Ford, in a booming voice, reprimanded the men for what he said was the “height of idiocy and bravado.” He further stated he was “reviled” that Serrano, a high school graduate, and college educated Kenyan immigrant Murithi could get so wrapped up in the “cycle of moronic” gang violence.

Before he was sentenced, Murithi, who ordered fellow Imperial Gangster Serrano to shoot at rival gang members, offered his condolences to Sallie’s family.

“I would like the family to know I’m really sorry about what happened,” Serrano added.

But the apologies meant little to Sallie.

“She [Schanna] will never be consumed by her first love and I will never have the chance to help her through her first broken heart,” Sallie said on the stand. “There will be no stories of her travels, the people she would meet and the things she would see and do. She never even got the chance to ride public transportation by herself.”

Sallie later said she was satisfied with the punishment imposed by Ford.

However as she rode on an elevator as she left court, she told friends and her two surviving children she didn’t “feel any different”

“There will never be any closure,” Sallie said wiping away a tear.

View Rita Sallie's full statement to the court >>HERE<<

Friday, April 17, 2009

Scavo believed officers were cooperating with feds

April 17, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

After federal agents raided the Melrose Park police station in September 2005, former chief Vito Scavo told his staff he believed there were officers in his department cooperating with the feds.

Melrose Park Police Lt. Joseph Urso testified Friday in federal court that in February 2006 Scavo held a meeting with sergeants and lieutenants and named at least one officer he thought was working with the agents.

"(Scavo) said, I know who's responsible," Urso testified.

According to the testimony, Scavo said at the meeting, "George Zito made more money than anybody."

Scavo was referring to Zito's involvement in a security business the former chief allegedly ran out of the police station. Scavo is on trial for extortion and racketeering charges related to the alleged scheme.

Zito is a retired lieutenant. According to the defense attorney's opening argument, Zito was the reason the federal investigation began.

After the raid, other officers treated Zito differently, Urso testified.

"Guys didn't treat him too friendly," he said.

Scavo's attorney, Tom Breen, asked Urso if Zito and his wife were accused of anything prior to the federal investigation that might have caused a change in how people treated him.

Urso said Zito and his wife were accused of taking money from the little league.

In April 2008, the Illinois Attorney General filed a lawsuit claiming Zito's wife, Lisa, stole $24,000 from the Melrose Park Little League in 2003 as the organization's treasurer. Lisa Zito has denied any wrongdoing and said all money was approved by the league's president at the time, Terry Serpico, brother of Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico.

During the February 2006 meeting, Scavo also said someone else in the police department was working with the feds but did not name anyone, Urso said.

"When (Scavo) said that, it appeared he was staring at me and talking about me," Urso said.

"Were you intimated by that?" Asst. U.S. Atty. Scott Drury asked.

"Physically, no, but it was intimidating," Urso said.

Allied felt pressure to hire Scavo's security company

April 17, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

After former police chief Vito Scavo found out a local company hired security guards from outside of Melrose Park, Scavo told the company to hire his security guards -- at double the number of guards and nearly three times the price.

In anticipation of a workers' strike in October 2003, Allied Waste Services in Melrose Park arranged for two off-duty Rosemont police officers to perform security work for 24 hours a day during the strike, which lasted nine days.

About six days into the strike, Scavo found out about the Rosemont guards and called a meeting with Allied. After the meeting, Allied fired the two Rosemont officers and hired four Melrose Park officers through Scavo's security company. The Rosemont officers cost $17 per hour; Scavo charged $45 per hour.

Steve Vogrin, general manager of Allied Waste Services, testified Friday that he was in that meeting with Scavo and felt like Allied did not have a choice in whether or not to hire Scavo's security company.

"I felt like a student in front of a principal being scolded for something I did wrong," Vogrin testified. "I felt like I didn't have the right to argue with the chief of police."

Vogrin said Scavo made no direct threats but described the former chief's tone as "agitated, angry, upset."

The defense said Scavo sounded agitated because he had just gotten a medical procedure on his "male parts."

Former chief accused of shaking down Kiddieland, Navistar

April 16, 2009
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com

Victims of former Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo's alleged extortion scheme included national businesses such as Jewel Food Stores, Cinemark, Sears and Navistar, as well as children's amusement park Kiddieland, Lincoln Technical Institute and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.

In Scavo's federal trial that started Tuesday, Asst. U.S. Atty. Stephen Andersson described some of the scenarios in which businesses dealt directly with Scavo. The former chief is accused of using his official position to force businesses to hire his private security firms that he operated with police and village personnel and property.

Scavo's defense attorney, Tom Breen called the charges a "mistake."

"If (Scavo) is such an extorter, why would he have so few clients?" Breen said.

In 2003, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church started renting out church space for special events. Scavo met with the church's business manager and made it clear that the church would have to hire his security company for these events. Plus, he wanted to be paid in cash.

"You don't often say no to the Melrose Park chief of police," Andersson said.

In October 2003, a garbage workers' strike caused two Melrose Park companies, Allied Waste Services and another waste management company, to hire private security guards. These companies hired guards from outside the village. Scavo found out and called these guards "cowboys," Andersson said.

Scavo arranged a meeting with an Allied manager. Allied was paying $17 an hour for security work but signed up with Scavo's security guards for $45 an hour.

Breen said Scavo approached Allied due to a public safety issue; Scavo was concerned about people carrying guns in his town.

"He did it for a very good public reason, even if he profited," Breen said.

The prosecution said bars that did not hire Scavo's security company would have their customers harassed by police officers or have their licenses taken away until they met with Scavo. If the bars hired Scavo's guards, "the problem would go away," Andersson said.

When Cinemark wanted to open in Melrose Park, Scavo told the movie theater that a certain number of his security guards would have to be hired first, the prosecution alleged.

Scavo is also accused of misrepresenting the use of a parking lot at Navistar, an engine-manufacturing company. Scavo said the lot was for public use when in fact he was making a profit, Andersson said. In October 2004 and 2005, Scavo charged customers of a nearby haunted house to park in part of the lot.

The prosecution mentioned other victims of Scavo's alleged scheme -- although not by name -- including a trailer park, a flea market, bars and restaurants.

In the course of what is expected to be a month-long trial, the jury will hear testimony from the owners and operators of the businesses and organizations.

Testimony: Cops paid cash to work security while on duty

April 16, 2009
By JOLIE LEE

A Melrose Park police lieutenant testified in federal court Thursday that he did private security work for the former chief's company while on duty as a drug and gang officer and received payments in cash-filled envelopes.

Lt. Joseph Urso also testified that officers wore police clothing and drove marked squad cars while performing security work for IFPC Worldwide Inc., a private company that paid a commission to former Police Chief Vito Scavo.

Scavo is on trial facing charges of extortion, racketeering, mail fraud and filing false taxes. In addition to the security work, Scavo used on-duty officers for personal chores, Urso testified.

At least two officers who Urso supervised could not be counted on to fulfill their shifts because they were too busy running errands for the chief, like getting Scavo's car washed, picking up laundry and even driving to Scavo's home in Florida. One of these officers had 11 overtime days in a 28-day period, the prosecution said.

Urso started working security for IFPC in 1999 at Cinemark when the movie theater first opened. He later also worked security at Jewel Food Store, Allied Waste Services and a nightclub.

Deputy Chief Gary Montino, who is on trial for racketeering and mail fraud charges, scheduled and paid officers for the security work, according to testimony. Montino sometimes called Urso while he was on duty and told Urso about security work that needed to be done that night.

Urso said he left his police shift early or sometimes did not work his shift at all if he was scheduled to work security, but he was still paid for the police work.

Asst. U.S. Atty. Scott Drury asked Urso, “Did you know what you were doing was wrong?”

“Yes,” was his response.

“Why did you do it?” Drury asked.

“I wanted the extra money,” Urso said. “And when I was told to do stuff by my supervisor and his supervisor, I did it.”

Officers received checks left in their mailboxes in the police station. Montino picked up the checks from IFPC, Urso said. Initially, the cash-filled envelopes were also left in the mailboxes. Later, Montino handed out these envelopes in-person because there was a concern people were taking money, Urso said.

“In the police department, there was a concern people would take your money?” Drury asked.

“Anything's possible,” Urso said.

Between 2001 and 2002, Urso said he was paid $17 to $18 dollars per hour in cash for work at the nightclub. During a garbage workers' strike at Allied Waste Services, Urso was paid $20 per hour in cash.

Urso worked another cash-only job at Jewel in 2003. He did not file tax forms for any of the cash he was paid. Urso still works security for IFPC and since 2007 has been in charge of scheduling. He said he does the scheduling outside of the police station, does not schedule on-duty officers and no longer works security while on duty.