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ere the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:
Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:

Officer Down

Saturday, October 31, 2009

R.I.P.: Calif. Officer Killed in Motorcycle Collision

Posted: October 31st, 2009 07:41 PM EDT
Officer Jarrod John Martinez
CHP photo
Officer Jarrod John Martinez News

An on-duty California Highway Patrol officer was killed Thursday, October 29, within days of completing his first year of service.

Officer Jarrod John Martinez collided on his motorcycle with a sports car and was dragged about 45 feet under the vehicle, the CHP said on Friday. The incident occurred in Los Olivos, in Santa Barbara County, near State Route 154.

Martinez, 30, graduated from the CHP Academy on October 31, 2008. He is survived by his wife Trish and his daughter Julia.

According to the Ventura County Star, Martinez was riding home from traffic court on his personal motorcycle when another driver put his vehicle on the wrong side of the road just as Martinez was approaching an intersection.

Martinez reportedly saw the approaching sports car and hit the brakes of his motorcycle, causing him to fly onto the road. He then got caught in the right front corner of the car and was dragged 45 feet before the vehicle came to a stop.

Witnesses called 911, and an off-duty deputy coroner was one of the first to arrive at the scene and render aid, the newspaper reports. Martinez, however, died moments later.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement regarding the death:

"Maria and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jarrod Martinez who worked daily to protect his community. Santa Barbara is a better place because of his tireless service and we will never forget his dedication to public safety. On behalf of all Californians, we send our thoughts and prayers to Jarrod's family, friends and fellow officers."

In honor of Officer Martinez, Capitol flags were flown at half-staff.

NEWS: (MISSING) Cops search for missing Montgomery teen

October 31, 2009 1:44 PM

Police in the far western suburbs this afternoon were searching for a 16-year-old girl who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

Tiffany Bonilla ran away from her home in Montgomery on Oct. 20 and was believed to be staying with friends or her mother in Aurora, who does not have legal custody of the girl.

Montgomery police said Bonilla's father believes either her friends or her mother are keeping her "hidden" from him.

Anyone with information about Bonilla's whereabouts should call Montgomery police, 630-897-8707, or Aurora Area Crime Stoppers, 630-892-1000.

NEWS: Faulty doors at Cook County Jail let inmates fight each other

October 31, 2009

Accused murderers, robbers and rapists in Cook County Jail's oldest maximum-security complex often use toothpaste caps and toilet paper to jam their cell doors and sneak out.

Sometimes, they don't even need to resort to such tricks. The aging locks in the doors malfunction on their own.

"Some of them are so bad they can literally slide the door, give the door a little jiggle, and it will slide open," a Cook County sheriff's correctional officer said.

Between February 2007 and last May, there have been at least 288 problems with jail doors in the 608-cell complex called Division 1, a Chicago Sun-Times/Better Government Association investigation has found.

A Cook County sheriff's spot check about a year ago showed that 69 cell doors in the division -- more than 11 percent -- were "found to be not closing properly, with the potential for being breached," records show.

Those doors have been fixed, officials said. But problems continue. And they aren't limited to cell doors. County records show stairwell, corridor and tunnel doors have been malfunctioning, too -- though not with the same frequency as cell doors.

"It's Jail 101: The doors ought to lock," said Charles Fasano of the John Howard Association, a watchdog group that monitors the jail under a federal court order.

County officials said they're trying to fix the problem through repairs and a new security strategy. Division 1, which opened in 1929, is unique because its cell doors slide open, rather than swinging on hinges like the 3,168 cells in the jail's other 10 divisions.

"Guys have figured out that using a cap from a tube of toothpaste with a piece of paper" can keep cell doors open while making it "look like they're locked on the [electronic] panel," Fasano said.

The concern isn't so much about inmates escaping -- they would need to go through three more sets of locked doors before they would even reach a hallway -- but about gang fights. In August, rival gang members in Division 1 left their cells and began stabbing each other with homemade knives.

Inmates told sheriff's investigators the correctional officer on duty pushed a button to unlock all the cell doors at the same time, an error that led to the melee. But the officer insisted he didn't open the locked doors simultaneously and that the inmates must have done it on their own.

Another officer, as well as an inmate involved in the fight, told the Sun-Times that malfunctioning doors contributed to the problems then.

Of the 288 reports of door malfunctions, 245 involved cell doors. They included 129 reports of cell doors not locking, being off-track or otherwise "broken." Another 112 involved problems with electronic panels and switches that control the doors.

A few years ago, similar problems surfaced in the jail's other maximum-security complex, Division 9, Fasano said. In one case, in February 2006, correctional officers were doing an inspection when they found a cell door open and a playing card jammed in the lock, according to a sheriff's office report. An inmate in the cell got combative when questioned and punched one of the officers in the face.

In August, the sheriff's office launched a new security strategy to deal with faulty doors. Correctional officers must now double-check a panel that tells them whether cells are open or locked. And they go cell-to-cell to check, sheriff's spokesman Steve Patterson said.

Last year, the county spent more than $70,000 to fix more than 70 doors in Division 1.

A $350,000 contract is pending to replace worn-out parts in the locks in another 533 cells, said James D'Amico, director of the county's Facilities Management Department.

In the last four years, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who runs the jail, has gotten about $4.5 million from the county for door and frame replacements in Divisions 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10, Patterson said.

"The sheriff is, in a sense, a tenant, and the County Board president is the landlord," Patterson said. "We have absolutely no control of the maintenance of the facility. It's a strange setup -- and one the sheriff is not happy about."

D'Amico meets once a week with sheriff's officials about door repairs that are needed. He said his staff is doing its best despite having a budget that's been slashed from $3.5 million to $1.5 million since 2003 and a staff that's gone from 470 to 370 over the same period.

A federal judge overseeing jail conditions has ordered the county to hire more facilities management staff but has not said how many yet, D'Amico said.

The same judge has ordered Dart to hire more than 200 correctional officers to bolster jail security.

Friday, October 30, 2009

NEWS: Complaints against police rise 18.6 percent in 1 year

--Maybe they should stop accepting all the idiotic complaints that people try to make and just concentrate on the legitimate complaints?--
October 29, 2009 8:02 PM

Over the last year, misconduct complaints against Chicago police officers have increased by nearly 19 percent, according to the city agency that investigates allegations from citizens.

Much of the 18.6 percent increase in complaints received by the Independent Police Review Authority has been driven by a steep rise since March of this year, IPRA Chief Administrator Ilana Rosenzweig said.

For most of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, the authority was receiving about 2,300 new complaints against police every three months. But in the second and third quarters of this year the numbers jumped to 2,600 and then 2,800.

The increase has forced the authority to deploy more investigators to fielding new cases, causing a slowdown in the rate at which investigations are completed, Rosenzweig said.

The authority closes about 60 percent of its cases within six months, down from about 65 percent the previous year, she said.

The authority has not yet analyzed its data to explain the increase. It is unclear whether there has been an increase in "perceived misconduct," an increase in the public's willingness to report allegations, or an increase in aggressive policing that would result in more complaints, Rosenzweig said.

The report covers just the second year of performance since the agency was reorganized and renamed from the previous Office of Professional Standards.

Mayor Richard Daley renamed the agency and removed it from direct control of the police department in 2007, in the wake of numerous misconduct scandals.

NEWS: No mask? No problem. Suspects use permanent marker

--These two move to the top of the list for the dumbest criminals of the year, maybe the decade.--
October 30, 2009 10:04 AM
How do you spell dumb?

With a permanent black marker, according to the police chief of a small Iowa town where two men allegedly used a marker -- instead of a mask or stocking -- to disguise their faces before trying to break into a home.

"They were being dumb and, combine that with alcohol, and it was the perfect storm," Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler told CNN.

His officers were responding to a call about an attempted burglary when they pulled over a car matching the suspects' vehicle.

Inside, they found two men with their faces blackened with permanent marker. Police said the caller had described two men with painted faces attempting to break into an apartment last Friday night before driving off.

Matthew McNelly, 23, and Joey Miller, 20, were arrested at gunpoint after officers were told they might be armed. Neither man had a weapon. McNelly and Miller were each charged with attempted second-degree burglary. Both men were released after posting bond.

"We're very skilled investigators and the black faces gave them right away," Cayler joked. "I have to assume the officers were kind of laughing at the time. I've never heard of coloring your face with a permanent marker."

Cayler said police believe one of the alleged burglars targeted the home because he suspected his girlfriend had a relationship with the man who lived there.

"They probably were just not thinking straight and figured we'll go out and scare the guy or whatever," Cayler said.

"I've been chief here almost 25 years, been with the department 28½ years and I've seen a lot of things that make me laugh and weird things but this was probably the best combination of the two -- strangely weird and hilariously funny all at the same time."

-- Staff report, Associated Press

NEWS: State gears to free prisoners

--Why do I see local police getting very busy when this happens?--

Parole agents check inmates' future homes before early release

By Megan Twohey

Tribune reporter

October 30, 2009

As the state prepares to release about 1,000 inmates from prison up to a year early, parole agents across Illinois are making unannounced visits to select homes, checking for overcrowding, drug paraphernalia and vicious dogs that could hamper future inspections.

After determining there is adequate space for an inmate, the agents stress to residents that their homes are in for a drastic change.

"I make sure they understand their house is now an extension of prison," Matt Lukow, an agent, explained.

By releasing those inmates from prison in the next few weeks, Gov. Pat Quinn's administration hopes to save millions of dollars and usher in other alternatives to incarceration. But the cost-cutting early releases are opposed by police, prosecutors and some crime victims.

Instead of living behind barbed wire and bars, the offenders will be monitored by electronic ankle bracelets in the homes of friends or family members. Shedding jumpsuits for jeans, they can leave home for jobs, drug counseling or other productive activities. Parole agents, not prison guards, will monitor their behavior.

It is among a variety of controversial changes in corrections sweeping the country, as states work to plug the massive financial drain of prisons.

Truth-in-sentencing laws, the war on drugs and spikes in violent crime have helped fuel a costly explosion in the prison population in recent decades. Illinois taxpayers spend more than $1 billion a year on corrections.

With its population of 45,545, the state system operates much like a revolving door: Half of inmates return to prison within three years, in many cases for technical violations of parole.

State officials contend they will release only nonviolent drug and property crime offenders with no previous parole violations and no outstanding warrants or orders of protection taken out against them.

But the administration declined Thursday to release a list of inmates or their offenses, saying it had not been finalized.

Corrections officials and many criminal justice experts say the offenders pose minimal threat to the public and have better shots at rehabilitation if they remain in the community. Most of the inmates will return to Cook County.

"This is not just an opportunity to save some money but also to deal with crime more effectively," said Michael Randle, director of the Department of Corrections.

Critics are blasting the move, saying early release undermines the criminal justice system and puts the public at risk.

It is a politically charged issue. Even supporters recognize the potential pitfalls, pointing to the occasional high-profile cases of convicts committing heinous crimes while on electronic monitoring.

Julius Anderson, a sex offender released from prison, was suspected in two brutal rapes last summer while on electronic monitoring. The attorney general's office says Anderson disappeared Aug. 7, but a special agent was not assigned by corrections to find him until Aug. 19.

"They've done their best to eliminate violent offenders, but someone is bound to commit murder, armed robbery or rape," said David Olson, a professor of criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago, who serves on an advisory board to the state Department of Corrections. "It won't do the victim any good to say this was bound to happen even if the person got out one year later."

Critics worry about those worst-case scenarios.

"When offenders are behind bars, they can't victimize the community," said Dora Larson of Will County, an advocate for victims' rights, who said her young daughter was raped and murdered by a former inmate shortly after his release on regular parole.

It is not the first time Illinois has issued early release to certain prisoners to save money. From 1989 to 2003, 27,616 inmates were released from prison and placed on electronic home detention for the remainder of their sentences.

Of those placed on electronic detention, 37 percent were sent back to prison for violations, and 14 percent absconded.

Corrections administrators could not explain what happened to those who absconded or why others were sent back to prison. They also could not say why the early releases were halted.

"That was a different administration," said Januari Smith, department spokeswoman.

Markow, a veteran of the parole system, said inmates released to electronic home detention in previous years were placed on a special parole caseload, which included sex offenders and other dangerous parolees on electronic monitoring.

The group was subject to stricter supervision than the average parolee, such as weekly meetings with their parole agents and full house searches. They also faced tougher sanctions, such as a felony escape charge, if they absconded.

This time around, inmates on electronic detention will be on general parole caseloads, which contain an average of 86 parolees per agent. The department is providing no additional resources for the group.

Markow, a leader in central Illinois of the American Federal of State, County and Municipal Employees, favors the early release of nonviolent offenders but is concerned about the parole system's 406 agents being stretched thin.

And given the poor job market and waiting lists for substance abuse and mental health counseling the inmates will face, he said he worries about the prospects for those on electronic home detention.

"This can be a good thing, but you need the proper resources," Markow said.

Markow said many family members who are taking in inmates were enthusiastic.

But it is not always smooth sailing, said Benneth Lee, who assists other former inmates back into the larger community.

He said his relatives suffered hardship when two nephews returned home from prison to electronic monitoring.

The nephews, who lived in separate homes, missed job opportunities because their parole agents did not provide clearance on time, Lee said, and the family members complained of harsh treatment from the agents

One nephew said he was glad to be sent back to prison for violations, Lee said.

"When you're returning from prison trying to learn how to be a citizen, it's better to do that in the community, but if the stakeholders aren't doing their part and being supportive of the process, it can turn out to be a bad thing," he said.

NEWS: Police capture suspects involved in drug-related kidnapping

October 30, 2009

Sun-Times Media Wire

A Thursday afternoon drug-related kidnapping that erupted into an early Friday police chase on the South Side ended when authorities captured one suspect in the northwestern suburbs. Three other suspects were arrested on the South Side.

About 1:50 a.m. Friday, the FBI identified a black Ford pickup truck at an unidentified location in the Deering Police District and a pursuit ensued, police said. The pursuit reportedly started near South Ashland Avenue and West 35th Street, according to unconfirmed dispatch reports.

The dispatch reports indicated the suspect drove north on Ashland Avenue and entered the westbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290). Officers terminated the pursuit about 2 a.m. near the Eisenhower’s Harlem Avenue exit, police said.

State Police were unable to locate the pickup after Chicago Police ended the pursuit. “By the time our guys were heading out there they lost sight of the vehicle near Harlem Avenue,” Illinois State Police District Chicago Master Sgt. Mike Karpinski said.

About 2:30 a.m., DuPage County Sheriff’s police stopped the pickup near Springbrook Shopping Center, on Lake Street (U.S. 20) near Bloomindale Road in Bloomingdale, Illinois State Police Elgin District Master Sgt. Bart Lamb said. DuPage County Sheriff’s police spokeswoman Dawn Domrose would only confirm the agency was assisting, and referred all inquiries to Chicago Police.

Karpinski said the motorist “cooperated and pulled over” once sheriff’s police were on his trail. No injuries were reported, authorities said.

Three other suspects were arrested at an unidentified time near South Ruble and West 21st Street, police said.

Police said the suspects were wanted in Chicago for an aggravated kidnapping, meaning the victim was taken by force.

The Bridgeport neighborhood drug-related kidnapping occurred about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 3700 block of South Union Avenue where the victim was taken out of his home, Chicago Police said. A ransom for him was later demanded.

Karpinski said early Friday that an undercover FBI agent in an unmarked car initially came across the pickup in Chicago and notified local police. Local police contacted State Police when the vehicle got on the Eisenhower.

Wentworth Area detectives are investigating with the assistance of outside agencies, police said. The suspects have not been charged as of 5:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NEWS: Six month investigation yields 118 arrests

--Interesting how Northlake was left out of this--

October 29, 2009

A six month investigation along Mannheim Road in unincorporated Leyden Township has netted the Cook County Sheriff's Police 118 arrests, 18 guns and more than $100,000 in cash and drugs.

With the assistance of Franklin Park and Stone Park police, Sheriff's Police arrested people for drug dealing, drug possession, unlawful use of a weapon, warrants, prostitution and soliciting prostitution.

Among those arrested were 12 from Franklin Park, six from Northlake, 12 from Melrose Park and six from Bellwood. Most of those arrested were from the western Cook County suburbs although one resided in Rockford and another in Milwaukee.

Many of those arrested had migrated from Chicago, said Sheriff Tom Dart during a press conference Thursday afternoon at Leyden Township offices, 2501 N. Mannheim Road.

“They were closer to their customers and had less police pressure,” Dart said.

The investigation, named Operation Room Service, focused on five hotels and motels. The investigation began in April when the Sheriff's Police was tipped off to illegal guns being sold from the Lido Motel, 2415 N. Mannheim.

Also targeted were the O'Hare Kitchenettes, 2301 N. Mannheim Road; O'Hare Kitchenettes West, 2540 N. Mannheim Road; Regal, 2448 N. Mannheim Road; and Heritage House Apartments, 10315 W. Palmer Ave.

Franklin Park police assisted Sheriff's Police by sharing information from informants and assisting in several warrant arrests, said Chief Joe Patti.

While both law enforcement and politicians were pleased with the investigation, none said the arrests would permanently reduce crime along Mannheim Road.

“The only way to get rid of drug dealers and prostitutes is code enforcement of the motels,” said Franklin Park Village President Barrett Pedersen.

Ray Bernero, code enforcement officer for Leyden Township, described the investigation as “phenomenal,” but said a permanent decrease in crime would take the help of Cook County leadership and the Cook County Building and Zoning Department.

Dart agreed.

“The obvious locations need to be closed down,” Dart said. “We've been trying to close down several of these motels. It's been a tortuously slow process.”

NEWS: Layoffs Hit Northlake

I have heard unfortunate news for my friends at my department.

1 full-time Community Service Officer and 1 full-time Dispatcher have been laid off.

One full time civilian employee was cut from 40 hours to 20 hours and a records clerk had her hours slashed.

Kind of strange if you ask me that a department that hires a bunch of civilians to fill positions that had been held by current officers for around 55k a year (each) suddenly has to lay people off. Don't get me wrong, I like the folks that have been hired (one of them is especially cool), but it sounds like the books got a little over cooked.

For the civilian that had their hours cut, it is not a big deal. They are already retired on a 75% pension with full insurance from the department and then got hired back as a 55k a year employee (pretty nice) so a loss of 20 hours is no biggie.

Wonder what else will come to light with the city's finances? Hmmmmmmm

Police Blotters October 29, 2009

Click on the town your interested in.

>>Franklin Park, Northlake<<

>>Bellwood, Melrose Park<<


>>Elmwood Park, River Grove<<

>>Harwood Heights, Norridge<<

>>Oak Park<<

>>River Forest<<


NEWS: Agency urged reprimand for Supt. Jody Weis

Action came after Chicago's top cop backed Obama for president

October 29, 2009
By FRANK MAIN Main Crime Reporter

Chicago's police watchdog agency recommended a reprimand last year for the city's top cop, Supt. Jody Weis, for endorsing then-Sen. Barack Obama last year during the presidential campaign, according to records released today.

Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority found that Supt. Jody Weis “impeded the police department’s operations and was inattentive to his duty in that, while in uniform and on television, he made comments that favored a particular political candidate.”

It wasn't immediately clear whether Weis ever received the recommended reprimand.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last year that Ald. Tom Allen (38th) had called for Weis to receive a reprimand because of an Oct. 15, 2008, interview he gave as part of a WLS-Channel 7 story on security at Obama’s South Side home.

“He’s our senator, and he’s hopefully going to be our next president, so it’s an honor to serve and protect his home,” Weis, who was wearing his police uniform, said in the interview.

After Weis was notified he might have violated a police rule, he notified the Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that handles complaints of police misconduct. The agency unveiled its recommendation to reprimand Weis in its annual report, released today.

Allen was upset because a Chicago police detective who had campaigned for him in his failed race for Cook County state’s attorney was found to have violated a rule that bars officers from engaging in partisan activity while in uniform or identifying themselves as officers.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” the alderman said then of Weis.

R.I.P: Texas Recruit Collapses, Dies at Academy

Posted: October 29th, 2009 01:20 PM EDT

Houston Chronicle

A sheriff's detention officer candidate who collapsed at the department's training academy last week died of a heart attack, according to a Harris County Medical Examiner's Office report.

Dionicio Camacho became dizzy while grappling with other jailers Oct. 21 during a physical training exercise, a Harris County sheriff's deputy said. He was in the third week of training for a jailer position.

The report states that the cause of death was a heart attack during the training. Camacho's family referred questions to the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office could not reveal whether Camacho had any pre-existing medical conditions, citing federal patient privacy laws.

Camacho's age is unclear. According to Texas drivers license records, he was 51 years old, but the Medical Examiner's Office put his age at 57. There is no upper age limit to become a correctional officer in Harris County.

Each candidate applying for detention officer jobs must undergo a physical by his or her personal physician before being hired, and that physician must complete Sheriff's Office paperwork to show the candidate is fit for duty, said Deputy Janie Alvarez-Wagner, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office. Cadet training begins only after one is hired by the department, Alvarez-Wagner said.

According to the medical examiner's account, Camacho had just finished five minutes of running and was "exchanging bouts" with an instructor when he began complaining of dizziness. After he fainted, academy employees began efforts to revive him. Paramedics arrived and performed CPR for an hour and transported Camacho to Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. He was removed from life support early Friday.

R.I.P.: DEA Agent Killed in Afghan Crash Dreamed of L.E. Crash

Posted: October 29th, 2009 12:10 PM EDT

Tampa Tribune, Fla.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy Chad Michael wanted to help society by bringing criminals to justice.

Michael was pursuing that goal Monday when a helicopter crash in western Afghanistan claimed his life and the lives of two other special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Michael, a native of Pennsylvania who moved to Florida to jump-start a career in law enforcement, was 30.

"At first it didn't seem real," Hillsborough sheriff's communication training supervisor Alex Diaz said. "To have somebody with his whole career in front of him, to have it end like that, it's very upsetting."

Michael was a patrol deputy from 2001-04, and his performance evaluations from that time showed nothing but exemplary and satisfactory marks. Supervisors noted that Michael had "an untiring work ethic," that he was "aggressive and eager to prove himself" and develop investigative skills, according to the documents.

He received commendations for foiling burglaries, arresting car thieves and testifying against the accused aggressor in a domestic violence case.

But even then, colleagues noticed a fire in Michael that would eventually lead him far from the streets of Tampa.

"He was a very ambitious guy," Diaz said. "He wanted to get his experience out on the streets then move to a federal agency. He had aligned himself to do that."

An undercover detective who worked with Michael at the sheriff's office said news of his friend's death on Monday sent him reeling.

"I had trouble functioning. It was devastating," the detective said. The Tampa Tribune is not using the detective's name because of the nature of his work. "I try to picture him and the good times we had."

DEA special agent in charge Mark Trouville said Michael was assigned to the Miami office for six years and left in September to join a team that targets opium production in Afghanistan.

DEA operations to disrupt drug distribution networks and destroy poppy fields in the region began in 2005. The country is the world's largest producer of opium, the raw ingredient in heroin, and the drug trade is a major source of funding for insurgent groups.

Michael, his fellow DEA agents and seven U.S. troops were returning from a raid Monday from a compound believed to be harboring insurgents tied to drug trafficking when the military helicopter crashed, officials said.

"It hurts anytime we lose an agent and a friend," Trouville said. "Chad was not only an outstanding agent, but a personable young man."

For much of his life, Michael dreamed of being in law enforcement, according to his personnel file.

"I found law enforcement exciting and thought-provoking," Michael wrote in his job application for the sheriff's office. He listed his interests and hobbies as playing sports and "being tactical."

Michael's future began taking shape during his teenage years when he became a firefighter for the Hughesville, Pa., Volunteer Fire Department. Michael responded to fire and rescue calls at 16 then drove ambulances at 18, Hughesville Fire Department Chief Steven Stiger wrote in a recommendation letter to the Hillsborough sheriff's office.

The fire chief added that Michael was trustworthy and showed high competence and strong character.

Those qualities showed up in Michael's application to the sheriff's office. When asked if he had ever used drugs, Michael wrote that he had "experimented with marijuana less than five times," according to his file.

Michael received a degree in criminology from St. Leo University in May 2001 and graduated from the Pasco-Hernando Police Academy that same year.

He was hired by the sheriff's office in December 2001, a month after he shared Thanksgiving dinner with Diaz and his family.

Diaz said the people Michael worked with at the sheriff's office are still shocked by his death, but knew the former deputy died doing what he loved.

"I have always wanted a career that was challenging both mentally and physically," Michael wrote in his application. "Law enforcement provides the opportunity to assist people and provide for the continuance of order in our society."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NEWS: Five Va. Corrections Officers Allegedly Fondled K-9

--Ummm, these guys have some real issues--

Posted: October 28th, 2009 10:28 AM EDT

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.

Five Virginia Department of Corrections officers have been charged with animal cruelty involving the fondling of a K-9 dog and videotaping the two incidents.

All five officers were training at the Academy for Staff Development in Goochland County to become K-9 handlers. They were charged across the James River in Powhatan County where the kennel is located, at the Powhatan Correctional Center.

Facing misdemeanor animal-cruelty charges are Kelvin Thompson, 25, who works at Green Rock Correctional Center in Chatham; Melvin Boone, 40, who worked at the state prison in Sussex County; Adam R. Webb, 27, and Cheri Campbell, 35, who work at Nottoway Correctional Center; and Anthony Eldridge, 33, a sergeant who worked at Nottoway.

Powhatan Commonwealth's Attorney Robert B. Beasley Jr. said Thompson "allegedly had some sexual contact with the animal." The male dog, a German shepherd or shepherd mix, was not harmed, he said.

"Essentially, he was touching the dog's penis with his hand," Beasley said. "The others were there filming it. That's actually how we learned of it -- there's a video."

A corrections employee saw the video and reported it to a superior, Beasley said.

The events occurred between June 16 and Aug. 1, according to arrest warrants. All five officers were charged Oct. 2 by summons.

Terry N. Grimes, a Roanoke attorney representing Thompson, said his client planned to plead not guilty but admitted to fondling the animal.

"I would characterize it as hazing," he said, claiming that Thompson was told by the others, "If you masturbate your K-9 unit, you'll have greater control over it."

The Department of Corrections confirmed that Eldridge and Boone no longer are employed by the state, but Thompson, Webb and Campbell are.

The Department of Corrections acknowledged that the matter had been investigated internally but declined to say whether Eldridge and Boone were terminated or left voluntarily. The department also would not say whether the others were on leave.

Grimes suggested Beasley would have a difficult time proving animal cruelty.

"The statute is not set up to deal with this type of thing. I don't think the legislature quite had this in mind," he said.

Beasley said the misdemeanor charge for each defendant was the same, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

"They were all kind of there assisting in one way or the other," he said.

In Virginia, bestiality is covered by crimes against nature, which could have resulted in a felony charge, according to state statutes. But a felony charge requires "carnal knowledge" of a "brute beast," implying intercourse, said Beasley, who added that he consulted with the state veterinarian's office before filing the charges.

Trial is set for Nov. 20 for all except Webb, who will be tried Dec. 11.

Asked if he knew why the officers videotaped the incidents, Beasley replied: "I don't have the slightest idea -- I really don't."

NEWS: Crime lab ready to test tainted treats

October 26, 2009

Children can hardly wait to put on their costumes and fill up their bags with treats for Halloween. But that excitement can make children and adults forget to be careful. With that in mind, Sheriff John Zaruba is offering a Halloween safety initiative to help make Halloween fun and safe for residents DuPage County.

A 48-hour Crime Laboratory will be available to DuPage County residents or police agencies requesting testing of suspicious or questionable treats. This 48-hour watch will begin at noon Saturday and will conclude at 4 p.m. Nov. 2.

Any parents who discover questionable Halloween treats are encouraged to contact their local police department. If you reside in unincorporated DuPage County, contact the Sheriff's Office non-emergency number (630) 407-2400.

"If you believe that your child's Halloween treat is suspicious, minimize handling of the item, place the item in a bag," said Zaruba. "Contact your local police or the Sheriff's Office and attempt to recall the location of where the questionable item was handed out."

The questionable treat will be tested and photographed by the Crime Lab. If the treat has a high likelihood of being contaminated, further testing will be completed to confirm the results and the resident or law enforcement agency will be notified of the results.
SPEAR Enforcement

The second part of the initiative is the Sexual Predator Enforcement, Apprehension and Registration Team. This multi-jurisdictional countywide team will be out in force during Halloween to make sure known sexual offenders are complying with the requirements of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act. If they are not in compliance, they will be arrested.

"Moms and dads need to know that sex offenders may take advantage of vulnerable children this time of year; I encourage every parent to take a few minutes before their children go out trick or treating to check one of the online sex offender registries so they know if there are any offenders living in their area," Sheriff Zaruba said. "All parents should visit our Web site at www.dupagesheriff/.org and click on the link to see registered sex offenders."
Family Awareness

To make this Halloween safe and fun for all, be sure to know whose door your kids are knocking on and follow these safety tips:

• Trick-or-treat before it gets dark in the late afternoon or early evening. Check with your municipality or neighborhood homeowners' association to see if there are designated hours for trick-or-treating. There are no official hours for unincorporated DuPage County, but Sheriff Zaruba recommends that children be home by 7 p.m.

• Older children should trick-or-treat with an adult or in a large group. Parents should map out a safe route and tell their children to stop only at familiar houses where the lights are on.

• Young children should always trick-or-treat with a parent or trusted adult.

• Wear costumes that can be seen in the dark. Many stores sell glow-in-the-dark or reflective items that can be worn or carried while trick-or-treating. Costumes should also be flame-retardant and short enough to prevent tripping and falling. Avoid hard plastic or wood props, use foam rubber instead.

• Stay in your neighborhood and only visit homes you know.

• An adult should examine all treats before they are eaten. Eat only those treats that are un-opened and in their original wrappers. Zaruba recommends parents discard any homemade treats or fruits.

• Tell children they should not enter anyone's home or car while trick-or-treating. If someone tries to get them to come into their home or car, they should run away and immediately tell a trusted adult.

NEWS: Elmhurst police tell sex offender to move

October 27, 2009

A new Elmhurst resident will soon have to move again after it was discovered he is a child sex offender living near a dance school.

At 4:45 p.m. Oct. 20, Elmhurst police received a call from the Texarkana Police Department in Arkansas about a child sex offender who recently moved from their town to Elmhurst, according to a police report.

While the man is no longer required to register as a sex offender, he was illegally residing within 500 feet of DeForest Dance Academy, which provides services to children under 18 years old.

The 45-year-old offender, whose name was not released, will be notified of this requirement to move.

Elmhurst Police Chief Steve Neubauer said that because this is an open investigation he cannot comment on the case, but the man's name is not being released because he has not been charged with anything.

He said the man is not required to register as a sex offender because when he committed the crime in 1987, it was not a requirement to permanently register.

Paul Darrah, spokesperson for the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office, said some sex offenses do not require a person to permanently register as a sex offender depending on the crime or time period in which it happened.

"Certain offenses have a term," he said.

Darrah added that laws from Arkansas may not transfer over to Illinois, but it is hard to say without more information about the type of crime this man committed.

NEWS: Melrose Park man sentenced to 10 years for fatal DUI

October 27, 2009
A Melrose Park man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to an August drunk driving crash in which he evaded police and struck a car, killing a Norridge man.

Daniel Martinez, 24, of 1124 N. 24th Ave., pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated driving under the influence before Judge Carol Kipperman at the Maywood Courthouse and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to a Cook County State's Attorney's office release.

The crash happened on May 31 about 10:15 p.m., according to the release. Martinez was spotted driving erratically by Elmwood Park police and when they attempted to pull him over, he initially pretended to pull to the side of the road and fled the scene. He then led officers on a high-speed chase through Elmwood Park and River Grove.

When Martinez approached Grand and Thatcher in River Grove, he ran a red light, broadsiding a car and killing 55-year-old Henry Manso, who was a passenger in the car, the release said. Martinez was arrested and it was determined his blood alcohol level was .155 at the time of the crash, almost twice the legal limit. Cocaine was also found in his system.

Martinez must serve 85 percent of his term before he is eligible for parole.

— STM reports

Monday, October 26, 2009

R.I.P.: Minn. Deputy Killed While Directing Traffic

Posted: October 26th, 2009 09:57 AM EDT

Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Outside the entrance to Fright Farm in Maplewood, black tape covered the sheriff's emblems on the doors of a patrol car Sunday. Flowers and notes on the windshield paid tribute to Mike Wilken, a Ramsey County reserve deputy and regular haunted house volunteer who had died just hours before.

Wilken, 56, of Newport, was on traffic duty for the event when a vehicle driven by a "common Joe Citizen" struck him at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of White Bear Avenue and Frost Avenue, said Maplewood police Sgt. Kevin Johnson.

Wilken suffered multiple critical injuries and was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he died early Sunday morning.

Sunday was a tough day for the volunteers at the haunted house, which the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office runs to raise money for the D.A.R.E. drug- prevention program.

"I feel horrible. He was a member of the family," said Ramsey County sheriff's Cmdr. Brad Camitsch, who started Fright Farm in 1996. "We're kind of trying to keep a stiff upper lip. People are coming, expecting to have some fun, and we're trying to give them that."

The haunted house, which drew 12,000 people last fall, raises $40,000 or more a year. It operates in a barn that opened in 1918 as a county "poor farm" where locals came to work off their debts. A potter's field nearby is the final resting place for nearly 3,000 souls, including homeless people and hospital patients who died between 1894 and 1923 without family or friends to pay for funerals.

On Saturday, some 1,500 people showed up to tour the barn's time-travel machine, gorilla cage and other thrills. When Wilken was hit, hundreds of people were still in line to get in. Volunteers kept working even as word spread that their friend was badly hurt, Camitsch said.

"They had to continue with their duties, because the event was still going on."

Parents and costumed kids who trooped up to the haunted house on Sunday found that the usual admission fee had been waived. Instead, a note near the ticket counter invited guests to make donations to Wilken's family.

The Maplewood Police Department and the Minnesota State Patrol are investigating the incident. Authorities did not release the driver's name on Sunday, but Johnson said he was not arrested. There was no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the accident, Johnson said.

If criminal charges result from the accident, the decision to file them would not be made until after the reconstruction report is complete, which could take months, said Lt. Matt Langer of the State Patrol.

Wilken is survived by his wife, Donna, and two grown children.

Donna Wilken said Sunday her husband was a loving man and the kind of father who used to serve as "cookie mom" for his daughter's Girl Scout troop, going through piles of cookie boxes during the big fundraisers to help each scout fill her orders.

A longtime clerk at the St. Paul police impound lot, Wilken was sworn in as a reserve deputy in 1999 and had logged hundreds of volunteer hours, said Ramsey County sheriff's Cmdr. Ron Knafla.

A "gentle giant" of a man, Wilken served at everything from parades to hockey games, Knafla said.

"There's a select few guys that you knew you could count on if you called them, and Mike was one of those guys."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NEWS: Franklin Park missing $8.7 million in village funds

Hmmm, this should get real interesting, real fast--

October 22, 2009

By Mark Lawton

Franklin Park's village president stunned an audience of about 100 people Wednesday night when he said the village was missing $8.7 million.

“The money is there on paper,” Barrett Pedersen said at a town hall meeting at the Franklin Park Community Center. “There is no money in the bank.”

Pedersen said village finances were in disorder. Money, which was supposed to stay in separate accounts -- garbage, tax increment financing, and others -- was instead pooled into the corporate (general revenue) account.

It's unclear how long the money has been missing, though Pedersen guessed it might go back as far as 2002. Pedersen took office in May 2009.

There is no paperwork explaining why money was moved and where it spent, he said.

“The bank accounts have not been reconciled since May 2007,” said village comptroller Joseph Letke.

Pedersen said he plans to consult with the village attorney and approach the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to see if it will conduct an investigation.

The missing funds come at a financially difficult time. The village recently arranged to borrow up to $2 million to pay bills and salaries while it waits for belated property tax revenue to arrive. It also recently found out that long-term damage to the police station means the department will have to move to a “temporary” building for two to four years.

Even without those recent issues, however, the village anticipates decreased revenues due to foreclosures, an inability to increase taxes by more than the consumer price index – a mere 0.1 percent this year – and industries that have moved out of Franklin Park or gone out of business.

“It means we're going to have to make some cuts and find additional revenues and we're going sit down with village constituents and find out what they think is a high priority and what they are willing to be cut,” Pedersen said.

NEWS: Police officer hit by car in Franklin Park

--Here's hoping a brother gets better fast--

October 23, 2009

A vehicle struck a Franklin Park police officer who was on school crossing duty Friday afternoon.

A compact car struck Officer Thomas Klos at 3:15 p.m. while he was in the intersection of 25th and Chestnut avenues near both Hester Junior High and Passow School.

Klos, a two-year veteran of the department, was treated at the scene and taken to Loyola Hospital in Maywood where he was in stable condition as of 5:30 p.m.

The driver, who has not been identified, stopped at the scene. He was being interviewed at the Franklin Park police station, said Deputy Chief Michael Witz.

The driver's blood and urine are being submitted to a laboratory, a standard procedure in major accidents. Witz said there is no indication the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

NEWS: Pa. Dept. Sued for 'Overtime Whores' Remark

Posted: October 25th, 2009 10:17 AM EDT

The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania)

Two Scranton police officers called "overtime whores" by Chief David Elliott in 2008 have filed a federal civil rights suit against the city, claiming ongoing discrimination and seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Patrolwomen Jill Foley and Melissa Forsette allege discrimination continued after the initial incidents -- with the pair being denied overtime and job-training opportunities -- and that the department has a pattern of "discriminating against and harassing female police officers, as well as not responding adequately to complaints of discrimination and harassment."

"It's never relented," said Sgt. Bob Martin, police union president. "It just continues to this day."

The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, naming as defendants the police department, Chief Elliott, Public Safety Director Ray Hayes, city Human Resources Director Lisa Moran and Mayor Chris Doherty.

It was filed as a class-action suit, on behalf of any other current or former female officers impacted by the allegations.

Efforts to reach the officers' Philadelphia attorney were unsuccessful Friday.

Mr. Doherty on Friday said he had not yet seen the suit. He referred questions to solicitor Mary Theresa Paterson, who indicated the city had not yet been served.

"The city has not seen the complaint and therefore isn't able to formulate a response to the allegations in the complaint," Ms. Paterson said. Upon receipt of the complaint, the city will respond accordingly, she added. Once served -- the process can take several days -- the city will have 60 days to respond.

Initial incidents

On April 20, 2008, the suit claims, Patrolwoman Forsette was mandated to work overtime hours as then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was holding a rally in Scranton.

Chief Elliot encountered her at the rally and reportedly asked: "Whatever happened to you and Jill, you used to be overtime whores, now you just want to be wives and mothers?"

Then, on July 7, 2008, the pair entered the chief's office to sign up for overtime foot patrols. "Here comes the two whores," was his reported greeting.

In August 2008 the chief was suspended for a week without pay and required to attend sensitivity training.

Mr. Doherty at the time said he was "disappointed" in the chief and that the situation had caused the officers "humiliation and embarrassment."

In an August 2008 press conference, the chief apologized and called his behavior "inexcusable."

The suspension cost about $1,200 in salary for the chief, who makes $61,000 annually, Mr. Doherty said last year.

Sgt. Martin responded that the chief should resign or be fired. On Friday, he again said the punishment was insufficient.

Patrolwomen Forsette and Foley, meanwhile, say their pain and humiliation continued.

On Aug. 26, 2008, they asked for a union presence at a meeting with Public Safety Director Ray Hayes and Human Resources Director Lisa Moran, who were investigating the incident. The officers say Mr. Hayes and Ms. Moran denied that request, and "mocked" and "threatened" them.

In September, they cross-filed a charge with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which often work in tandem.

After their EEOC filing, the women say, they have been denied chances to attend job-related training "without explanation," and "denied overtime opportunities to which they were entitled according to seniority."

A July 31 letter from EEOC notified the women they had the right to file a civil suit within 90 days but that the letter did not indicate "a judgment as to whether or not your case is meritorious."

According to the suit, Patrolwoman Forsette has experienced stress-related headaches, breathing problems and was forced to leave work early one day due to an anxiety attack. Patrolwoman Foley has experienced stress-related back problems, nausea and stomach pain, it says.

"They're extremely stressed," Sgt. Martin said. "You can only imagine how agonizing it is to come into a hostile work environment every day."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NEWS: Two prostitution-related arrests at Palatine hotel

--I guess Graigslist holds no culpability for any of this since they have no control over who posts what on their forum. This state, actually this country, is a joke. They worry about who is going to collect sales tax if you buy a mop on the internet but ordering up a hooker is ok.--

By Joseph Ryan | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 10/24/2009 5:10 PM | Updated: 10/24/2009 5:10 PM

Two suburban women were arrested at a Palatine hotel on prostitution-related charges Friday afternoon as a result of an undercover operation that followed online ads.

Tiffany Denton, 20, of Timber Lane in Vernon Hills, was charged with felony pandering and Neringa Golombeckyte, 21, of the 9900 block of 87th Ave. in Palos Hills, was charged with prostitution.

The arrests came after an undercover Arlington Heights officer, operating as part of a task force chasing prostitution ads on Craigslist, responded to a posting on the Web site and eventually met with Golombeckyte at a Palatine hotel off Northwest Highway near Route 53, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Bill Cotter.

Golombeckyte allegedly agreed to perform a sex act for $200, Cotter said.

Subsequently, officers learned of Denton's role in the prostitution scheme as the person in charge of posting Craigslist ads and vetting customers, Cotter said. Denton, he said, was located in another room at the hotel.

Denton has a criminal record that includes other prostitution and drug related charges in the suburbs, Cotter said. Golombeckyte has a record that includes underage drinking, criminal trespass and an outstanding warrant on a DUI charge, he said.

Denton's bond was set at $10,000 by a Cook County judge Saturday, meaning she will have to post $1,000 to get out of jail. Golombeckyte's bond was set at $5,000, meaning she will have to post $500.

NEWS: Man accused of child molestation captured

October 24, 2009 (WLS) -- A personal trainer who was one of the most wanted fugitives in downstate Illinois has been captured by the Cook County Sheriff's Department's fugitive unit, Sheriff Tom Dart announced.

Authorities say Kenji L. Haley, 31, has been on the run since 2007, when he was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child under the age of 10.

According to the sheriff's department, Haley is charged with committing 10 acts of molestation on one victim. Another investigation reportedly is under way into a possible second victim. Both were in Urbana, Ill.

Investigators say they suspect Haley targeted single mothers with young children, and they say Haley would stay with the women long enough to eventually be left alone with the children.

The sheriff's department is accusing Haley of molesting the children and threatening them, as well as presenting gifts to those he allegedly molested as a way to earn their silence.

Officers say they learned three weeks ago that Haley was living in Cook County and seeing as many as 10 women with young children.

According to authorities, Haley was taken into custody without incident Thursday after he was found at a house in the 8700-block of South Kingston in Chicago.

The sheriff's department says some parents who live near addresses visited by Haley reportedly told officers they knew him and that he had made inappropriate comments to young females in the neighborhood.

Sheriff's officers say they have opened an investigation into Haley for potential victims in Cook County, but he has been taken into custody by Champaign County authorities.

"Anyone who knows him can feel safe knowing he is custody," Sheriff Tom Dart said in news release distributed by a representative of the department. "We hope there are no other victims, but if there are, we certainly hope they feel strong enough to come forward to someone they trust and tell what happened."

According to the sheriff's department, Haley has had additional warrants issued for his arrest since the original warrant was issued. Authorities say he is wanted in Vermillion County for unlawful use of a credit card and in Champaign County for failure to pay more than $25,000 in child support.

NEWS: Bill Aims to Improve Concealed Weapons Permitting for Retired Officers

--I figure it will take a few more revisions before they get it right. I like that they are lowering it to 10 years from 15 years of service.--

Posted: October 24th, 2009 06:05 PM GMT-05:00 News

Washington, D.C. -- Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) has announced legislation to improve current law to permit qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms. The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Improvements Act of 2009, H.R. 3752, aims to increase public safety and ensure proper protection for law enforcement officers.

"About five percent of law enforcement officers who die each year are killed while taking action in an off-duty capacity. Convicted criminals often have exact memories, preventing law enforcement officers from ever being 'off duty', whether active duty or retired," said Forbes in a prepared statement.

"Not only is the ability of retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms a critical officer safety issue, but it just makes sense that trained officers should be prepared to respond immediately to public safety threats, regardless of whether they are off-duty or across state lines. This bill would make significant improvements to law enforcement firearm laws to increase safety for officers and the public."

Under current law, Forbes reports, retired law enforcement officers are subject to complicated and duplicative document certification procedures to carry concealed weapons. Differing interpretations of the law lead some states to refuse to issue the required documentation.

H.R. 3752 aims to "establish measures of uniformity and cut through the bureaucratic red tape by enabling a firearms instructor to certify that retired law enforcement officers meet the active duty standard for firearms training," Forbes reports.

This would allow law enforcement officers who are retired or who separated in good standing after at least ten years of service to carry a concealed weapon. The bill would also extend the right to carry a concealed weapon to current and retired law enforcement officers for a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

H.R. 3752 has been endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police and the International Union of Police Associations. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it awaits further action.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NEWS: Judge throws out Dart's suit against Craigslist

October 22, 2009 5:30 AM

The Sun-Times reports: A federal judge this week threw out Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's lawsuit seeking to force Craigslist to pull online ads Dart says sell sex.

U.S. District Judge John F. Grady ruled that ads offering "adult services" aren't explicitly offering sex, and Craigslist is an "intermediary," and is not "culpable for aiding and abetting" customers who "misuse their services to commit unlawful acts."

NEWS: la. Cops Misplace Cocaine During K-9 Training in Hotel

Posted: October 22nd, 2009 03:14 AM EDT

Posted by Barbara Hijek on October 20, 2009 08:10 AM {TOPIC} FloriduhSun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale

Spending a night in a hotel?

Most folks expect to find complimentary soap, shampoo and a Gideon's Bible.

But some lucky guest may have found an unexpected gift inside a Naples hotel room last spring, a package of cocaine, thanks to the Naples police department, no less, reports the Naples Daily News.

Two veteran Naples police officers lost the cocaine during a conduct K9 training exercise ia a Naples Best Western hotel room.

Linda Lines, a 16-year-veteran, says she did not remember who collected the drugs that day. She was more concerned with straightening up the hotel room the K-9 messed up. The dogs were very "lively" that day -- leaping on the bed, biting pillows, knocking down pictures on the wall

She said that, at the time, there were no inventory-control mechanisms in place to ensure that no drugs were missing when signing in or signing out a narcotics kit.

That has since changed, said Naples police spokesman Michael Herman. {ZONE} SB

R.I.P.: Michigan Corporal Collapses During Roll Call

Posted: October 21st, 2009 03:33 PM EDT News

A member of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office collapsed and died during role call at a jail last week, according to The Detroit News.

Fellow officers, EMTs and nurses attempted to revive Cpl. Jammie B. Smith, but were unable to on Oct. 15 at approximately 3 p.m. The 37-year-old was then transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"We've lost a dedicated professional, devoted husband and father," Sheriff Benny Napoleon said in a statement obtained by the newspaper. "He was known for continuously helping others to achieve their goals on the job."

Smith joined the sheriff's office in 1996 and is survived by his wife, Sharon, and two sons, Jamey and Jaramey.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NEWS: 1 killed, 1 critically wounded in car in Cicero

An 18-year-old man was killed and a woman was critically injured Tuesday night after they were shot as they sat in a car on the same block where the man lived in Cicero, officials said.

Horacio Mendoza, of the 1600 block of 55th Court, was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. at Loretto Hospital, said a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office.

A woman who was in the car with Mendoza was in critical condition at Mount Sinai Hospital, officials said.

The two were sitting inside a car in the 1600 block of South 55th Court at about 9:45 p.m. when a gunman opened fire, striking both victims multiple times, Cicero police spokesman Elio Montenegro said.

Police did not have a motive for the shooting and hadn't made any arrests, Montenegro said.

--William Lee and Carlos Sadovi

NEWS: Franklin Park in need of new police station

October 20, 2009

Franklin Park police will have to move to a new location before bad weather sets in.

On Oct. 13, village trustees heard the result of a structural study of the police station.

"The gypsum in the roof has become saturated," said Trustee John Johnson. "That, coupled with a wet snow load could implode the structure. It's not likely to make it through the winter in its present condition."

And that's only the beginning.

"There are a lot of problems," said Village Engineer Dave Talbot.

Those include ingress-egress issues, mechanical and electrical equipment not being up to code, no sprinkler system, no fire alarm system, an insufficient electrical system, no accessibility for people with disabilities and narrow corridors.

Rebuilding the roof would cost roughly $300,000, an investment that would still leave the other problems untouched.

"It's throwing good money to the bad," Johnson said.

The roughly 15,000-square-foot original building was constructed in the 1930s and over the decades seven additions were built around it. With the number of police added over the decades, the police station should be closer to 38,000 square feet, said Jeff Eder, director of community development.

Eder is looking for a building that police can use for the next two to three years while the village government starts the process for building a new permanent station. A temporary station would likely be located in an industrial building in Franklin Park, though no decisions had been made as of Oct. 15.

The main concern of Police Chief Joe Patti in a temporary station is a way to house prisoners.

"The only way to alleviate that is to use the surrounding police departments, if they'll let us," Patti said.

As for a permanent station, Patti would like a larger space, a more secure area for moving prisoners between squad cars and station and a firing range.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NEWS: Fallen officer's star retired

October 20, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A somber ceremony took place Tuesday as the Chicago Police Department retired the star of Officer Alejandro Valadez.

Officer Valadez was killed last June as he responded to a call of shots being fired on the South Side.

Tuesday, the city paused to honor the young officer who gave his all.

Alejandro Valadez was on the police force for only three years, but he left an impression upon many.

His family gathered at the display case where his police star -- number 9534 -- will remain enshrined.

"His passing reminds us once again how much gratitude we owe to the men and women of the Chicago Police Department," Mayor Richard Daley said.

Officer Valadez was killed June 1 responding to a call of shots fired in the Englewood neighborhood. Men in a passing car opened fire.

"It's very emotional and very sad. Especially in this case. You had Alex, who was a 27-year-old young man, a phenomenal police officer. He's out doing his job. He's gunned down from the back by a gang-banger, driving by in a car. He never had a chance," said Superintendent Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

The officer's partner and friend, Officer Tom Vargas, tried to put into words his thoughts about Alex Valadez. The men were so close that they were known as "the twins".

He was a brave man. There were so many situations where afterward you think, 'what if?' We'd been shot at before. It's real. It's not like in some movie," Vargas said. "This happens to officers everyday -- last night, tomorrow -- it's happening all the time. It's what we do. ...Every once in awhile you hear 'thank you.'"

Officer Vargas was standing next to the fiancée of Officer Valadez, who is also a police officer. The baby she held is Alejandro Valadez, Jr., the son that Officer Valadez never knew.

"I will definitely be there for my partner's son," Vargas said."He's definitely going to know what kind of partner and dad he had."

Three men are now charged with the murder of Officer Valadez.

The officer's star -- placed in the honor display -- joins the stars of 464 other Chicago Police Officers who've died in the line of duty.

A somber ceremony was held Tuesday to retire Officer Valadez's star. It's the 465th star to be retired at the Chicago Police Department Headquarters.

"It's very emotional and very sad. Especially in this case. You had Alex, who was a 27-year-old young man, a phenomenal police officer. He's out doing his job. He's gunned down from the back by a gang-banger, driving by in a car. He never had a chance. And he did it while just trying to keep this city safe. He's got a great family. It's just very tough to recognize we lost such a fine young officer to senseless violence. There's a young boy who will never know his father," said Superintendent Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

The 27-year-old was a three-year veteran with the force. Officer Tom Vargas was his partner.

"That's one of the things that keeps me going and keeps our fellow officers going. He would not be telling me to sit there and do nothing, mourn. He would want me to keep on going," said Officer Vargas.

Valadez' fiancée, who is also a police officer, gave birth to his child, a boy, after he was killed. Valadez's sister is also on the force.

HUMOR: The 300 M.P.H. Speeding Ticket

Two British traffic patrol officers from North Berwick were involved in an unusual incident while checking for speeding motorists on the A-1 Great North Road.

One of the officers used a hand-held radar device to check the speed of a vehicle approaching over the crest of a hill, and was surprised when the speed was recorded at over 300 mph. Their radar suddenly stopped working and the officers were not able to reset it.

Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact latched on to a NATO Tornado fighter jet which was engaged in a low-flying exercise over the Border district, approaching from the North Sea.

Back at police headquarters the chief constable fired off a stiff complaint to the RAF Liaison office. Back came the reply in true laconic RAF style:

"Thank you for your message, which allows us to complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Tornado had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked onto, your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it. Furthermore, an air-to-ground missile aboard the fully-armed aircraft had also automatically locked onto your equipment. Fortunately the pilot flying the Tornado recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile systems alert status, and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched and your hostile radar installation was destroyed.

Good Day..."

NEWS: Men could get life for 7-year-old's gang tattoo

--"The family contends the boy asked for the tattoo."-- Yea, because when a 7 year old asks for a tattoo, you just run right out and get them one? They should tattoo "Dipshit" on each one of their foreheads--
October 19, 2009

FRESNO, Calif. -- A prosecutor has refiled charges of aggravated mayhem against two men accused of tattooing a gang sign on a 7-year-old boy, raising the possibility again that they could face life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Enrique Gonzalez, 27, held his son down against his will while Travis Gorman, 21, inked a quarter-sized gang insignia on the boy's hip.

The family contends the boy asked for the tattoo. AP

NEWS: Daley: Police hiring to stay slow

BUDGET | Even planned snail's pace will lessen

October 20, 2009

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

After hiring only 46 Chicago Police officers all year, Mayor Daley acknowledged Monday that the slowdown would continue in 2010, dramatically impacting the city's ability to fill 591 police vacancies.

"We will be filling them, but not at a faster rate," the mayor said after announcing unrelated budget moves.
» Click to enlarge image
Despite promises of adding more officers to the Chicago Police Department, the city hired just 46 last year.

(Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

Chicago cops hiring to stay slow in 2010

Daley was noncommittal when asked whether Chicago could afford to hire any police officers -- beyond the 80 whose salaries will be paid by federal stimulus funds -- and still honor his promise to hold the line on all taxes, fines and fees.

"We don't know yet. . . . Other cities are . . . closing fire stations and laying firemen and policemen off. We see that continually all over the country," he said.

To save $10 million, Daley's 2009 budget slowed police hiring to a crawl -- with only 200 officers expected to be hired all year.

But, as city revenues plummeted, City Hall opted not to maintain even that snail's pace. Only one class of 46 officers entered the police academy this year.

As of Oct. 9, the Chicago Police Department was 591 officers short of its authorized strength of 13,500 -- and that's not counting hundreds of other officers on duty- and non-duty disability.

Daley had hoped to receive federal stimulus funds to hire 400 new officers, under a three-year, $106 million grant that requires those officers to remain on the city payroll for at least one additional year.

Instead, Chicago got only enough federal money to hire 50 officers for general purposes and 30 more to patrol the CTA.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue said Daley's decision to maintain the hiring slowdown through 2010 is "extremely unfortunate" at a time when youth violence continues unabated.

"Public safety should be the No. 1 priority of any city administration," he said.

Reminded that other cities and suburbs are laying off police officers, Donahue said, "That's not an argument. That's an excuse. Just because others are doing it doesn't make their citizens any safer."

NEWS: Man accused of assaulting girls he met on Web site

October 20, 2009 4:56 AM

A 26-year-old Chicago man has been charged with sexually assaulting two teens he met on a social networking Web site.

Pierre Mason, of the 7800 block of South Drexel Avenue, is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault, police said in a news release.

Mason also faces charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between the ages of 13 and 16 and kidnapping with force or the threat of force on Oct. 15, police said.

Both incidents occurred on the 7600 block of South Greenwood Avenue, police said. The victims met Mason on an online social network site that police refused to identify, citing an ongoing investigation.

-- Carlos Sadovi

NEWS: Al Sanchez case: FBI agent tells judge he didn't connect the dots over key witness at trial for ex-Streets and Sanitation boss

--Hmmmm, the feds didn't know, or the feds just chose to ignore the fact so they could make their case?--
Government witness was under drug investigation, officials say
By Todd Lighty

Tribune reporter

October 20, 2009
Click here to find out more!

FBI agents in northern Indiana this year were investigating a street gang involved in killings, drug trafficking and gunrunning.

At about the same time, agents in Chicago were preparing for the federal corruption trial of Al Sanchez, a former top aide to Mayor Richard Daley.

The two FBI investigations had one person in common: Brian Gabriel.

FBI computer databases contained information that Gabriel, a city truck driver and an alleged leader in the Spanish Vice Lords, was a target of the gang investigation and that he also had been interviewed as a government witness in the Sanchez case.

Yet, according to testimony during a court hearing Monday, the FBI failed to make the connection.

The Indiana-based FBI agents testified that they did not alert their fellow agents on the Sanchez case when they began looking into Gabriel in February. A Chicago FBI agent testified that he checked the bureau's computers on Gabriel for criminal activity in December 2008 but did not check again closer to Sanchez's trial.

Sanchez, a former Streets and Sanitation commissioner who was convicted in March in a scheme to rig city hiring, argued that Gabriel was crucial to the government obtaining a conviction and that his lawyers were handcuffed in fully cross-examining him because they were not told about his alleged gang ties and criminal activity.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman said there was no evidence of willful misconduct by the government but suggested that the agents may be "kicking themselves for what they did or didn't do."

Still, Gettleman said he was "disturbed" by the allegations. "It's nothing I am happy to see," he said. He is expected to issue his ruling by December on whether Sanchez deserves a new trial.

Prosecutors who won Sanchez's conviction have said they learned of the Gabriel drug investigation in April, about a month after Sanchez's trial, and immediately notified the judge.

Gabriel, who was on paid leave since mid-July, returned to work at the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation on Monday, said spokesman Matt Smith.

"Gabriel has been to court numerous times related to an arrest and received numerous continuances," Smith said. "Until this legal process is resolved, and we can review that outcome, we want to make sure that we are receiving productivity from him."

Gabriel has a pending state drug charge.

At Monday's hearing on Sanchez's request for a new trial, Gabriel exercised his Fifth Amendment right, declining to answer questions about 130 times.

Agent Adam Pohl, who led the gang investigation, said the bureau opened a case against Gabriel on Feb.

10. Pohl said he checked the FBI's computer system, which can be accessed by agents around the country, to see if Gabriel was the target of any other investigation.

He was not.

But in the system were electronic documents showing that Chicago FBI agents had twice interviewed Gabriel in the Sanchez case in 2006 and 2008.

Pohl said he read those interviews and believed they dealt with Gabriel's job history. He said he did not pay attention to them because they were "old" and did not pertain to what he was investigating -- gangs, drugs and guns.

Pohl said it never occurred to him that Gabriel was going to be a government witness nor did it occur to him to call the Chicago agents who had twice interviewed Gabriel.

Gettleman asked Pohl if he just "didn't connect the dots." Pohl replied: "Basically, yes."

Brian Etchell, the Chicago agent who led the Sanchez investigation, testified that he checked Gabriel's criminal background and other trial witnesses in December 2008. Gabriel said he did not check the FBI computers one more time before trial, despite Gabriel telling him he once was in a gang.

Etchell testified that Gabriel told him that his gang activity was long ago and that Gabriel felt bad about his past arrests, even becoming teary-eyed.

"Now you know why," Gettleman said.

NEWS (VIDEO GAMBLING): Oak Park moves toward video gaming ban

October 20, 2009 12:17 AM

The Oak Park Village Board gave a unanimous nod Monday to a ban on video gaming in the wake of the state's approval of the gambling machines this summer in an attempt to raise revenue for road and infrastructure projects.

When the final ordinance is adopted later this fall, Oak Park will join about 250 other Illinois municipalities that have opposed video gaming.

"Not only should we not be paying for roads through video gaming, we shouldn't be funding schools with the lottery," said Trustee Ray Johnson.

The village could have garnered about $11,250 annually in tax revenues from each establishment that had the maximum of five machines, said Village Manager Tom Barwin.

But trustees said they heard overwhelmingly that residents did not want video gaming in town.

"Some decisions are just more important than revenue projections," said Trustee Jan Pate.

Under state law, the machines would have been allowed in any restaurant or bar with a liquor license as well as any fraternal or veterans organization. But local governments are allowed to enact their own ban on the devices. Barwin said he brought the issue up now before any of those establishments started ordering the video gaming machines.

--Victoria Pierce

Monday, October 19, 2009

NEWS: La. Officer Injured, K-9 Dies In Cruiser Wreck

Posted: October 18th, 2009 02:15 AM GMT-05:00

Advocate staff report; The Advocate

A Baton Rouge police dog died Friday and his police handler was injured after their patrol car was broadsided.

Philos, an 8-year-old German shepherd who was part of the Baton Rouge Police Department's K-9 Corps, was taken to a local veterinary hospital where he died from injuries he suffered in the accident, Sgt. Don Kelly, a Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman, said in a news release.

Lt. Robert "Bobby" Glaser, 50, Philos' handler, suffered moderate injuries, Kelly said. The other driver, Jesse Isiah Farris, 22, 10061 Moss Lea Drive, received minor injuries.

Farris was booked into Parish Prison on counts of first-offense DWI, first-degree vehicular negligent injuring, reckless operation, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and driving with a suspended driver's license, Kelly said.

The accident occurred when Glaser was driving westbound on Government Street at 1:30 a.m. Friday.

Farris was driving a 2006 Lincoln pickup southbound on St. Charles Street - which was the wrong direction on the one-way street - when the pickup broadsided Glaser's police unit, Kelly said.

The impact caused Glaser's Dodge Charger patrol car to roll over, eventually coming to rest on its wheels.

Glaser was removed from the vehicle by rescuers and taken to a local hospital where he is expected to recover from his injuries, Kelly said.

The police lieutenant had returned to work in late June after being shot four times in February by a 16-year-old armed robbery suspect whom Glaser was trying to question. The shooter was later arrested by other Baton Rouge officers.

Philos is the first Baton Rouge Police dog to die in the line of duty in more than 20 years, Kelly said.

Two other dogs died in the 1980s from injuries suffered while they were working, Kelly said.

Brute died in 1988 after being bitten by a brown recluse spider while tracking a robbery suspect. Max was shot to death in 1985 while chasing a car thief.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

NEWS: Teen shot by police after refusing to drop weapon

An 18-year-old male was shot by police late Friday after he refused to drop the weapon he used to fire at a group of males, officials said.

At about 10:40 p.m. Friday, plain clothes officers were working on a narcotics investigation in the 6300 block of South King Drive when they responded to a call of shots fired, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

The officers drove a short distance and saw the teen firing a weapon in the direction of a group of males who were standing on the street, police said.

One of the police announced he was an officer and ordered the teen to drop his weapon. Instead, the teen turned with the weapon pointed in the direction of the officer. The officer repeated his command and when the teen failed to drop his weapon he shot the suspect in the right thigh, police said.

The teen tried to run, but collapsed a short distance later, police said. A revolver was found on the scene.

The teen was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Quention Curtis.

The Independent Police Review Authority was not able to provide any details immediately about the circumstances behind the shooting.

IPRA chief administrator Ilana Rosenzweig at about 11:55 p.m. could only confirm that there was a police-involved shooting at that location and the agency was sending investigators out to the scene.

--Deanese Williams-Harris

NEWS: 2 teens raped as evidence sat

--If they would hire the officers they are supposed to and get the department up to the proper manpower, things like this wouldn't happen.--
Police agencies struggle to keep up with avalanche of DNA test results
By Megan Twohey

Tribune reporter

October 18, 2009

The state crime lab notified Chicago police in June 2008 that DNA evidence linked three brutal rapes in the city, but it was not until this summer that detectives reinterviewed the victims and gathered vital information leading to an arrest.

During the yearlong delay, Tommie Naylor is alleged to have kidnapped and raped two more teenage girls, a harrowing example of the Police Department's struggles to respond swiftly to DNA test results.

"There shouldn't have been another girl attacked after me," said the third victim, who was 16 in 2006 when she was grabbed at a bus stop and pulled into a car in the mid-afternoon. "The police didn't do what they were supposed to do."

DNA test results in rape, murder and burglary cases are pouring into the Chicago Police Department in record numbers, but the city has not increased resources to handle the potentially crucial information, officials said. In fact, the department downsized its special DNA unit.

From 2001 to 2008, Chicago police received 4,449 DNA hits, which link known felons to unsolved crimes or tie multiple crimes to the same unidentified person. Most of those came in sexual assault investigations.

Today, 41 percent of those cases are still open, officials said. And that figure does not account for DNA hits flooding the department this year. The city expects to see 1,500 hits in 2009, compared with 25 received in 2001.

Chicago police insist they are capable of responding to the DNA test results in a timely fashion, but observers inside and outside the department worry about delays.

In the case against Naylor, 41, a Forest Park postal worker, investigators did not reinterview the original victims until this summer, when the crime lab notified Chicago police of yet another DNA hit, connecting a November 2008 rape to the previous three assaults. Last month, DNA evidence implicated Naylor in the rape of a fifth girl, attacked in November 2008, officials said.

"When police don't act on a DNA hit in a timely fashion, it opens us up to more attacks," said Neha Lall, an attorney with Chicago's Life Span, which assists victims of sexual assault.

The handling of DNA evidence has received much scrutiny in recent years. After it came to light in 2003 that evidence was sitting untested at the Illinois State Police crime lab for more than a year, outraged lawmakers in Springfield allocated more money for the lab and demanded it make annual reports on its DNA backlog. Lawmakers again voiced anger this year after a state audit showed the backlog remained a problem.

Less attention is paid to what happens with the results of DNA tests once they are turned over to police agencies, a concern not only in Chicago but nationally.

"It's a black box," said Frederick Bieber, an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School who serves on national DNA advisory boards. "We're spending all this money on the crime labs and working hard to know what happens with DNA there, but we have no idea what happens on the law enforcement end."

What is certain is that databases containing DNA profiles of felons and samples from crime scenes have yielded an extraordinary number of investigative leads since they were begun in the 1990s.

Illinois has entered 342,449 felon profiles and 19,119 forensic samples into the DNA databases, generating 9,436 hits, the second-highest of any state, said the FBI.

By 2006, the growing number of DNA hits involving Chicago crimes had become a concern for the Chicago Police Department .

It can take a lot of effort, officials say, to locate people involved in old cases. Maria Maher, who retired as chief of detectives last year, said she feared that street detectives assigned to certain areas of the city and burdened by their pursuit of daily crimes would not be able to respond to the DNA test results in a timely fashion.

So, the department launched a specialized six-detective unit to track the use of DNA hits and respond to many of those from old sexual assault cases.

"We wanted to make sure we could work all the hits as fast as we could," Maher said.

. Even as the detectives worked DNA hits full time, they could not investigate and clear the cases as quickly as they came in.

After Jody Weis became superintendent, in early 2008 the department downsized the DNA unit and eliminated its investigative team.

Thomas Byrne, the new chief of detectives, said that a centralized team should not investigate cases from across the city and that the DNA unit was too small to make a dent in the growing number of DNA test results.

The smaller DNA unit now serves primarily as a liaison between the crime lab and street detectives, sending out e-mail notifications of DNA hits, tracking progress and maintaining a computer system of information on them.

Street detectives, again responsible for responding to all DNA hits, did not receive more resources to deal with the DNA hits, Byrne said.

And they do not have direct access to the DNA unit's computer system, which contains information needed for their investigations.

In a 2007 application seeking federal funding, the city said its "archaic database system," strained by the growing number of DNA hits, frequently crashed and did not allow the department to "provide detectives with the most current information to effectively solve these strenuously challenging cases."

Byrne said that the department was fixing the computer problems and that detectives assigned to areas of the city were capable of responding to hits.

Within 10 days of receiving a DNA hit, detectives must report that they responded in some way, even if it means making a phone call.

"I'm constantly reviewing the hits, making sure that none are slipping through the cracks," said Sgt. Kathy Warner, head of the DNA unit.

But at least two victims in the Naylor case suspect that is exactly what happened after the DNA hits in their cases.

The attacks, on the South and West Sides, stretched from 2003 through 2008, and involved five girls ages 14 to 16. Four of the victims were standing at CTA stops or walking alone when a man dragged them into his car, drove them to an alley and assaulted them. In the fifth attack, a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted after being forced into a vehicle at gunpoint.

In February 2007, the crime lab notified the Police Department that DNA had linked the first two attacks to the same unidentified suspect, and in June 2008, the lab told police the third attack was also connected. It took that long for test results to come back because of the lab's DNA backlog. But detectives in the cases never reinterviewed the victims. They never drew up a sketch of the attacker. The investigations remained frozen.

Police said detectives tried and failed to find the victims and additional leads.

"The original detectives worked hard to solve this case," said Roderick Drew, police spokesman. "They tried to find the victims, ran plates to look for matches based on the vehicle description given by the victim, and even issued an investigative alert when they were unable to find one of the two original victims."

But the 2003 victim and her mother question police efforts to find them. They said they moved a couple of times but were in contact with the police in June 2007 when the victim's brother was killed.

"I talked to the police for my son's murder, so they knew where we were," the mother said. "Even if they lose touch, they have ways to find you."

The victim of the 2006 attack and her mother said they have maintained the same phone numbers but heard nothing from police until this summer.

The victim said that she told police six digits of the license plate right after her assault and was supposed to help with a sketch but that the detective never responded to her phone calls. Police say it was the victim who did not return phone calls in the weeks after the attack.

When the crime lab notified police in June 2009 of a DNA hit linking one of the 2008 rapes to the first three, detectives found and reinterviewed the earlier victims, Warner said.

The 2008 victim allowed police to compile more detailed descriptions, police spokesman Drew said.

A detective said in July that the six digits from the license plate led police to Naylor, and the 2006 and 2008 victims identified him in a photo lineup.

Under a judge's order, Naylor provided a DNA sample, which matched those found on the victims, and was charged with kidnapping and rape in the four cases. In September, he was charged with the fifth attack, a result of another DNA hit.

"All of the pieces fit together, and the detectives did a fine job of finding the offender," Drew said.

But before then, the alleged serial attacker continued to target girls, and the victims dealt with years of fears and uncertainty.

"I kept thinking I would see him again," the 2003 victim said.

The 2006 victim said she did see Naylor in her neighborhood twice in 2007. After the first encounter, she said, police had to escort her from a restaurant where she had fled in terror.

She also struggled with relatives and friends who doubted she had been raped.

"Everyone made me feel like the boy who cried wolf," she said.

NEWS: Authorities crack down on sex trade ring

October 16, 2009 (WLS) -- Cook County sheriff's officers say they've broken up a sex trafficking ring.

Investigators responding to an online ad discovered three women from Thailand at a motel in a Chicago suburb.

The ads on the web were pretty straight forward. If you are looking for sex, it's easy to find, and the alleged prostitutes are pretty easy for law enforcement to find as well. When undercover Cook County sheriff's officers arranged to meet a girl at this hotel near O'Hare, they did not expect to find a young girl from Thailand. She was one of three girls being held there basically as prisoners of a human trafficking ring.

"Their passports are gone. They don't speak our language. Their only connection is a woman they never met on a phone somewhere saying 'you better perform otherwise bad things are going to happen to you. We know where your family is,'" said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

The women have been in this country fewer than three weeks, and already they've been shuttled to New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago for prostitution. A limo service takes them from the airport to the hotel. The threats keep them there. The sheriff says he believes this is a major international operation, but catching the operators is tricky.

"We're going to get these people. It's just going to take a while because of all the firewalls set up by the internet and the like. It's just difficult," Dart said.

The sheriff says the women are victims. They face no charges. They are staying at the Thai Consulate while they make arrangements to send them back home to their country.