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Public Pension & Law Enforcement Advocate; Law Enforcement News; Officer Down Memorials; Public Corruption News

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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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year; A Message From Duke

As we close 2009 I hope I was able to inform and entertain you. I hope you might have even learned a little something. I hope you all have a safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR. Please be careful if you must work tonight (find a viaduct at midnight). I will see you all in 2010 where I hope to improve on the amount of information available. I also hope to expand on the base of people that see the Daily Blotter (you can help, tell your friends to check it out).

Thanks for everything and again, please be safe.

Have a wonderful NEW YEAR's from my family to all of yours.


2009: The Year in Review

These are from the Pioneer Press. Click on the town your interested in.

>>Franklin Park, Northlake<<

>>Bellwood, Berkeley, Broadview, Maywood, Melrose Park<<

>>Elmwood Park, River Grove<<


>>Oak Park<<

>>River Forest<<


Police Blotters December 31, 2009

Click on the town your interested in.

>>Franklin Park<<

>>Melrose Park<<

>>Elmwood Park, River Grove<<

>>Harwood Heights, Norridge<<

>>Oak Park<<



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

TRAINING: 2010 Law Updates

I have uploaded the latest update to the Illinois Vehicle Code and Illinois Compiled Statutes here. It is a 68 page PDF document that covers pretty much all of it.

Enjoy some light reading. Most of these go into effect January 1, 2010 but the update covers the 2009 July session as well.

Download >>HERE<<


MELROSE TRIALS: New Sentencing Dates Set

Well, I have been scouring the records so you don't have to. I have been monitoring the happenings so you don't have to. I try to get you the information even before the papers or the news. As I have always promised to provide you with truthful up to date information, I am pleased to provide you with the the most updated information on the Melrose Six (I think I will coin that).

I will make the actual documents available for you as well at the bottom of this post.

Vito Scavo - Sentencing date set for February 17, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. He has also filed a motion objecting to the sentencing guidelines and asks for a shorter sentence.

Ric Cervone - Sentencing date set for January 27, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.

James Caputo - Sentencing date set for January 6, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. He has also filed a motion for softer sentencing based on medical reasons (doctors report will be here as well).

Mickey Caliendo - Sentencing set for March 17, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. Seems he has also had attorney issues and has retained new counsel from here out.

German Cepeda - Sentencing date set for January 19, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.

Michael Wynn - Sentencing date set for January 27, 2010 at 10:15 a.m.

Click on the capitalized words in the arrows

Scavo Sentence >>MEMO<<

Scavo Motion >>DOCUMENTS<<

Cervone Sentence >>MEMO<<

Caputo Doctor >>REPORT<<

Caputo Motion >>DOCUMENTS<<

Caputo Sentence >>MEMO<<

Caliendo Lawyer >>DOCUMENTS<<

Caliendo Sentence >>MEMO<<

Cepeda Sentence >>MEMO<<

Wynn Sentence >>MEMO<<


NEWS: (LEGAL UPDATE) Federal Ruling Establishes Taser Standards

From >><<
Posted: December 30th, 2009 11:01 AM GMT-05:00

The San Francisco Chronicle (California)

Police need reasons to believe a suspect is dangerous before firing a Taser and can't use their stun gun simply because the person is disobeying orders or acting erratically, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Monday.

The decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sets judicial standards for police and for people who claim they were victims of excessive force after police hit them with a Taser dart.

"The objective facts must indicate that the suspect poses an immediate threat to the officer or a member of the public," Judge Kim Wardlaw said in the 3-0 ruling.

Though stun guns may offer a valuable, nonlethal alternative to deadly force in defusing dangerous situations, Wardlaw said, they inflict a "painful and frightening blow" and must be used only when substantial force is necessary and other options are unavailable.

"It's a significant use of force, not like cuffing someone or using pain compliance or pepper spray," said Eugene Iredale, a lawyer for a San Diego-area man who was Tasered by a police officer who had stopped him for not wearing a seat belt. "It's not to be used promiscuously or lightly."

The ruling allows Iredale's client Carl Bryan to go to trial in his damage suit against Brian McPherson, a policeman in Bryan's hometown of Coronado. McPherson's lawyers were unavailable for comment.

Tasers enjoy wide support among law enforcement officials, including George Gascón, San Francisco's new police chief, who is considering recommending the devices for his officers and has ordered a study of past police shootings to see whether stun guns would have made a difference. On the other hand, Amnesty International says 334 people died in the United States from 2001 to August 2008 after being hit by Tasers.

McPherson stopped Bryan's car on a summer morning in 2005 as the 21-year-old was driving home. Wearing only boxer shorts and tennis shoes, and upset at himself for forgetting to fasten his seat belt, Bryan swore at himself as he stepped out of the car, and was shouting gibberish and banging his thighs as he stood 15 to 25 feet away from the officer, the court said.

McPherson said Bryan then took one step toward him. Bryan denied it, and the court said the evidence indicated that Bryan was facing away from McPherson when the officer fired his Taser. Bryan fell on his face, breaking four front teeth, and needed a hospital visit to remove the electronic dart, the court said. He was charged with misdemeanors of resisting and opposing an officer, but prosecutors dropped the charges after the jury deadlocked.

Upholding a judge's refusal to dismiss Bryan's civil suit, the appeals court said a jury should decide whether the officer had used too much force to subdue someone who was not threatening him.

Bryan was clearly unarmed and did not challenge McPherson verbally or make any menacing gestures, Wardlaw said. She said McPherson's claim that Bryan had ignored an order to stay in the car - an order that Bryan denied hearing - would not justify a Taser shooting, nor would the officer's concern that Bryan might be mentally disturbed.

Other factors that could support a claim of excessive force, Wardlaw said, were the minor nature of the traffic offense, McPherson's failure to warn Bryan that he might be Tasered and the fact that other officers were on the way to the scene.

NEWS: Ex-Chicago firefighter gets prison in drug case

From the >><<

By Tim Mitchell
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:16 AM CDT

URBANA – A former Chicago firefighter who admitted supplying large amounts of cocaine to a drug trafficking network that served Champaign and Urbana was sentenced on Tuesday to 17½ years in federal prison, followed by five years of parole.

Judge Michael McCuskey directed that Sung Jin Jeon, 39, begin his prison sentence on Feb. 3, 2010.
Advertisement Chief Illiniwek: A Tribute to an Illinois Tradition and The Chief

Jeon pleaded guilty in December 2008 to conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, admitting that he conspired with two other men from Chicago to distribute the cocaine between 2004 and 2007.

Jeon admitted that he regularly supplied cocaine to a drug trafficking organization led by Olaitan Fowowe and Rashaud Harrell, both of Chicago.

The organization distributed cocaine and crack cocaine in Champaign and Urbana, with money from the drug sales sent back to Fowowe and Harrell by another defendant, Sasha Daley of Chicago, and others.

Jeon also pleaded guilty to money laundering and agreed to forfeit $500,000.

Jeon had resigned from his position with the Chicago Fire Department and did home remodelling jobs. He contributed $94,000 toward the $500,000 forfeiture through Tuesday.

McCuskey ordered that four parcels of real estate owned by Jeon be seized and sold, with the proceeds going to pay for the remaining $406,000 owed to the federal government.

Jeon admitted that he and Fowowe agreed to launder Fowowe's money from the cocaine sales through businesses that Jeon owned.

Jeon also admitted to falsely listing Fowowe as one of his employees while Fowowe was serving a sentence at an Illinois Department of Corrections work release center in Chicago.

Fowowe paid Jeon from drug proceeds, which Jeon partially redirected back to Fowowe by writing payroll checks and falsely claiming the checks were for payment of wages.

According to McCuskey, Tuesday's sentencing of Jeon was the 17th sentencing connected with the conspiracy.

As McCuskey announced the sentence, he described Jeon as "a well-educated, smart individual who led a double life." He noted that 27 people, including friends, college classmates and firefighters, had written letters to the court attesting to Jeon's character.

"People's lives have been crushed by the drug trafficking," McCuskey said to Jeon. "You are paying a heavy price for bad decisions."

Jeon fought back tears as he apologized to his family, friends, mother, wife and daughter.

"There is no way I could possibly apologize to all the people affected by my criminal act," Jeon said. "I am sorry to let you down. Please forgive me."

Jeon said that greed had changed his life for the worse.

"I have learned that a simple life is all one needs to be fulfilled," Jeon said. "It is my intention to continue to be productive after my sentence is served."

Staff writer Mary Schenk contributed to this story.

NEWS: Chicago homicides drop for 2009

From the >>Chicago Tribune<<

December 29, 2009 10:05 PM

At the end of his first year, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis had already faced angry aldermen and repeated questions about low morale and arrests.

And then 2008 ended with this: a troubling double-digit homicide increase.

But nearing the end of this year, homicides in the city have dropped by 11 percent, apparently reversing the 2008 spike and bringing the city more in line with a decline that started in the early part of the decade.

There had been 453 homicides through Monday, compared with 509 at the same time last year. Shootings were down 6 percent.

"I said at the end of the year that 2008 was the year of transition," Weis said. "I (expected) 2009 to be the year of results."

Experts cautioned against blaming or crediting any one person or strategy for a one-year crime trend, but Weis and other department officials said several efforts launched this year have chipped away at the violence.

City gang teams were reorganized, and they were given a new mission: more search warrants and fewer street-corner drug investigations. They were also told to ramp up their use of informants so they could make more informed arrests.

In the districts, commanders and community members say they've been working -- from tracking gang anniversary dates to dog-walking -- to make a difference on the blocks where they police and live.

Still, because Chicago's homicide total brings the city in line with declines experienced here and nationally throughout much of the decade, some suggest the more compelling question could be what happened in 2008.

"(Last year) was the anomaly," said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston. "This year is part of the pattern."

Weis doesn't agree that the 511 slayings in 2008 were too out of step with the declines of the decade, especially compared with the 1990s when homicides were still in the 900s.

But 2008 was marked by high turnover. Several commanders were moved into new positions, including many in the districts.

Weis said he spent a good part of 2009 encouraging commanders to be creative and find solutions unique to their crime patterns instead of using cookie-cutter approaches.

"I want commanders who are risk-takers," he said. "It took a while to have commanders understand that."

But even if experts are hesitant to assess a one-year crime trend, they did note that some of the programs and strategies put to use in 2009 reflect the now widely accepted idea that policing should be based on quickly analyzing crime data and responding.

For example, on the Northwest Side in the Grand Central District, where officials estimate there are more than 20 street gangs fighting for territory, Cmdr. Robert Lopez started tracking the anniversaries of gang slayings so police could flood rival neighborhoods and look for trouble.

On at least one occasion an alleged gang member wearing a hat emblazoned with an anniversary date was arrested with a gun in rival territory, Lopez said. Investigators believe he was on his way to a shooting.

"He had a gun," Lopez said. "It was the anniversary of someone getting killed. And he had the hat to prove it."

Perhaps the most troubled area of the city, as a whole, has been the Far South Side. The area receives a lot of support from citywide units that tamp down the violence.

But like in other districts, homicides were down nearing the end of the year. Calumet District Cmdr. John Ball credits coordination among all the local commanders, who meet weekly to look at crime data and decide where specialized teams would be best used.

Ball also agrees that 2008 was a transition year in many ways. He and three of the other five commanders were new to the area.

"We had to change and develop and recognize who was what," he said.

Still, this fight for a neighborhood can't only be fought by the police, experts said.

Professor Dennis Rosenbaum, a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, calls it a "battle for the control of the space as well as the hearts and minds of young kids" -- and says the community has to get involved.

On the Far North Side, when police in Rogers Park decided to start the year with a "zero tolerance" policy on one troubled strip, they demanded that residents help.

Police flooded Howard Street, which backs up to one of the most challenging parts of the district, to make arrests for anything from felonies to misdemeanors.

Meanwhile, residents Toni Duncan and Eva McCann also took to the neighborhood on foot, spiral notebooks in hand, jotting down anything that was amiss.

Duncan and McCann, community policing facilitators, noted decrepit buildings, busted street lights and even the color of gang members' shoelaces. Dog walkers sometimes joined. They had anti-violence marches and got to know some of the troublemakers.

"We know who they are; they know who we are," said Duncan, a seven-year resident. "It gives a sense of neighborhood or community. I am sure if I fell down, one of them would help pick me up. They're not bad all the time."

McCann, who has lived in the area more than 20 years, said zero-tolerance had its detractors because some residents have felt targeted. But since the program started she sees a more vigilant police force and a chance to attack real problems. "They're ... dealing drugs," McCann said of some people in the area. "They are causing fights. They are loitering, and they are gambling and drinking. The list goes on."

Another effort that comes from the community is CeaseFire, an anti-violence program working in some of the city's most violent neighborhoods. Studies have shown a reduction in shootings where CeaseFire works. But after losing its funding, most of the work halted in August 2007. It was not brought back until March 2009, and the program has since mediated 350 conflicts and made more than 1,000 referrals for service.

"Any time you can talk a guy down from shooting someone, we save lives," said Tio Hardiman, the director of CeaseFire Illinois.

Gangs drive at least half the shootings in the city, and the department also refocused its approach to these investigations in 2009, in part to try and arrest more people like Pierre Manning.

Since 2007, Manning, an alleged West Side gang leader, had been suspected in 10 crimes in Chicago -- among them shootings and a homicide, according to police records. He was among the most wanted gang members on the West Side and, police said, was behind an internal gang fight, sparking shootings across the community.

His February arrest in an alleged shooting -- after he led police on a chase -- came after weeks of gang officers investigating him. Manning was later charged with an unrelated killing.

To police, the arrest highlights how the newly structured gang teams work -- policing larger areas and gathering information they need to arrest people who cause the most violence.

Investigating the most violent individuals is not a new idea, but some say there is now more communication among the various units involved: gangs, narcotics and homicide detectives.

Department brass said they increased the use of confidential informants and the number of search warrants -- from 300 to 1,200 in the narcotics section alone. Cash seizures are also up $7.5 million.

"Gang activity is driven by the illicit trafficking in narcotics," said Ernest Brown, the chief of the Organized Crime division. "By increasing the number of search warrants, we are attacking first their source of revenue. ... The people who sell narcotics are also violent."

The search warrants, in part, replaced the street-corner conspiracy investigations that have been done over the last several years. The investigations aimed to dismantle drug corners with months of surveillance and arrests of offenders and seizures of narcotics.

Brown said the department has not abandoned street-corner operations. Seventeen were done in 2009, but that is down from 34 the previous year.

"They frequently did not result in us arresting either a source of supply or a particularly violent group of offenders because they were more likely to be guys who were just 'running' the packs," Brown said. "And as soon as the takedown was completed, there would be a whole group of replacement players."

--Annie Sweeney

NEWS: 'The Squeeze' brings viewers inside Cook County Jail, onto Chicago's streets

From the >>Chicago Tribune<<

Sheriff's Department puts 'The Squeeze' on new reality series
By Chris McNamara Special to the Tribune

December 30, 2009

Throughout its 80-year history, Cook County Jail has been a place of mystery, its inner workings shielded from the public and the media. Occasional stories, like one in the days before Christmas about an inmate dying after suffering a 106-degree temperature, are almost always negative. Some of that veil will be lifted Friday with the debut of a television series that examines the inner workings of the jail, the largest single-site county facility in the United States, and profiles the people who work and do time there.

MSNBC's "The Squeeze" takes cameras inside the jail, a feat made possible, those involved would have you believe, by a sheriff who advocates openness.

"I think (Cook Country Sheriff) Tom Dart is somebody who believes in transparent government," said Melissa Cutlip, vice president of development with local production house 20 West, which created the series. "Under the prior sheriff there was limited -- if any -- media access. Dart took over and revisited policy. He's letting the taxpayers know what they're paying for at Cook County Jail."

Dart's spokesman, Steve Patterson, said something similar.

"When he came on, the sheriff wanted to open the doors in ways that hadn't been done before. This is a way to show the taxpayers and county commissioners and the nation what the Cook County Sheriff's Department does," Patterson said.

As for it also being a good vehicle to raise Dart's national profile, Patterson said the sheriff is only in one scene in the first batch of shows.

"This isn't the Sheriff Dart show. It's the Sheriff's Department show," Patterson said.

"The Squeeze" isn't intended as a fluff piece on cops or some audio-visual tour of the jail, located in the Little Village neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side. It's a gritty examination of the process of extracting information from inmates and employing that intelligence on the street. Central players in these hourlong documentaries are members of the sheriff's Criminal Intelligence Unit and officers assigned to the Gang Unit.

"The CIU works out of the jail, identifying gang members," said Lt. John Blair, who appears on the show. "When [inmates] find out about something on the street, they reach out to us."

Blair believes the appeal of "The Squeeze" is the concept of intelligence gathering -- a practice that, for most viewers, isn't well understood.

"We're not just working gangs on the street," said the 15-year veteran. "We're multitasking."

In the first episode, Criminal Intelligence Unit officers greet inmates arriving at what they call "Crook County Jail." Some of the shackled recognize their handlers from previous incarcerations. The officers then start meeting with gang members, first-timers and jail veterans -- all presumed innocent until proven guilty, all potential sources of information that can help quell violence within the jail and on the streets.

The show exercises care, Cutlip said.

"We take the safety of the jail staff into account, along with the rights of those in jail and the confidentiality of informants. Those are serious things that we don't want to compromise," she said.

Unless inmates sign releases to appear in the program, their faces are blurred. Supervisors with the Criminal Intelligence Unit review all footage to ensure this policy is enforced. But beyond that jail staff has no input on what gets included in "The Squeeze," Cutlip said. Patterson said a contract with 20 West includes a clause that holds the production company liable should any lawsuits be filed over the show.

The Naperville Police Department is being sued in federal court by people who claim they did not give permission to appear on a reality television show focused on that department.

Cutlip estimates that 70 hours of footage is whittled down to create each 46-minute episode. "The goal here is to show how this operation works -- intelligence from jail is shared with the Sheriff's Department, and they do the investigation. This is not a process that we can produce. It's a verite documentary."

While it's unfair to pick out a star of a reality show about guys merely doing their jobs, Criminal Intelligence Unit investigator Adrian Sandoval, 38, shines. Called "The Sandman" by inmates, he wears a white leather jacket as he trolls through the bowels of Cook County Jail, knocking fists and chatting with inmates, determining who will be willing to exchange intelligence for a possible recommendation for leniency from the state's attorney.

"A lot of people only get to see the negativity here," Sandoval said. "We agreed to participate with MSNBC because we want people to know exactly what we do. We're gathering information to make this institution safer."

While the bulk of the program takes place inside the jail, the cameras follow officers as they take advantage of information gleaned from inmates. In the first episode, they find a weapon hidden beneath couches in a littered alley, exactly where an informant told them to look. They barge into houses to serve warrants.

"I've filmed about 25 warrants being served and I've gotten used to it -- the guns out, the doors being slammed in. But I'm still scared every time," said director of photography Joe Fitzgerald, who holds a camera over cops' shoulders. A veteran of reality television shows, the Logan Square cameraman gets patted down when entering restricted sections of the jail and wears a bulletproof vest on the streets.

The program depicts the care that is taken to protect inmates who provide intelligence. Interview sessions are often clandestine. Inmates even call the officers' cells phones from within the jail.

"We can get up-to-the-minute information," said Sandoval, who began working at the jail in 1995 as a correctional officer before transferring to the SWAT team, and ultimately helping found the Gang Intelligence Unit, which recently was renamed the Criminal Intelligence Unit.

When asked about the effectiveness of this unit, Sandoval describes an incident in the summer of 2008, when an inmate awaiting trial for a narcotics charge provided details about a homicide on the North Side. That led to convictions for murder.

"The show lets us tell our side of the story," Sandoval said. "They get to see a perception of us other than what they see in the media. We want people to know that we're regular human beings and that this is our career."

His job involves taking cell-phone calls at all hours -- an inmate has a tip about a weapons cache within a cell, a gang member has word about a pending assault.

Sometimes the calls are social. "Some of these guys see me as a close friend. I treat them all with respect, until they deem otherwise," said Sandoval, who once was attacked by a group of Gangster Disciples in the jail. He suffered head trauma and an arm laceration. "One guy called me yesterday saying thanks for making his life easier. He was spending his first Christmas with his kids. I told him just to stay home. You can't get in trouble if you stay home. Unless you get into a domestic situation ..."

NEWS: Police praise new laws on cell phone use

From the >>Pioneer Press<<

December 29, 2009

New state laws banning texting and certain cell phone uses while driving won't eliminate distracted driving crashes, but the measures will help make roads safer, area police agree.

"It's a good idea," said Oak Brook Police Chief Thomas Sheahan. "Obviously texting and cell phone conversations add to distracted driving.

"We don't have statistics on texting and accidents, but I can tell you any time you have distracted driving, it's very dangerous and we want to discourage that."

"I'm glad something has been done to draw people's attention back to their primary function in a car, which is driving," said La Grange Police Chief Michael Holub. "It's a great idea. Law enforcement was part of that process and lobbied for those restrictions.

"I would make it even more strict, but we're definitely moving in the right direction."

"These new laws will send a strong message to the motoring public that distracted driving is prevalent and is a major concern to the safety of vehicle occupants, pedestrians and bicyclists," said Brian Budds, deputy chief of the Western Springs Police Department.

"There is no doubt that texting causes a loss of focus by a driver," said Clarendon Hills Police Chief Patrick Anderson. "I saw a statistic recently that indicated that most rear end collisions were caused by a driver who diverted his eyes for less than 1.8 seconds.

"Texting, dialing, looking at a newspaper or turning around to check on back seat passengers all increase a driver's chances for an accident."

John Cooper, deputy chief of the Darien Police Department, said texting while driving definitely is a safety hazard. Cooper has seen drivers who appear to be impaired, but instead are distracted by their phone.

"I think there's probably a lot of near-miss collisions," Cooper said.

Pat Foley, deputy chief of the Willowbrook Police Department said he's seen plenty of people texting while driving. Often, when a car is drifting within its lane or traveling under the speed limit, texting is to blame, Foley said.

"You know what they're doing," he said.

Mark Wodka, deputy chief of the Hinsdale Police Department, said texting while driving is just one form of the many driver distractions that contribute to crashes.

"Reducing distractions will reduce the potential for crashes and injuries that result from them, Wodka said.

A 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study reported 5,870 people lost their lives, and an estimated 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which at least one form of driver distraction was listed on the crash report, Wodka said.

"While these numbers are significant, they may not state the true size of the problem, since the identification of distraction and its role in the crash by law enforcement can be very difficult," the report said.

"I think it's a good idea," said Elmhurst Police Chief Steve Neubauer. "Safety experts tell us there is a direct correlation between texting and accidents."

Neubauer said talking on the phone is not only a major distraction, but texting while driving is equivalent to operating a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

As of Jan. 1, the use of portable devices is banned for texting, instant messaging and checking or sending e-mails while driving, except when the vehicle is stopped and is in park or neutral.

A second law prohibits the use of cell phones, unless hands-free, in school speed zones and construction zones.

Both offenses carry a $75 fine.

While police officials agree texting or e-mailing on a mobile device can contribute to causing accidents, some are skeptical about data to support that conclusion.

"There seems to be a lack of concrete data which directly associates texting to an increase in traffic crashes," said Brian Budds, deputy police chief of Western Springs.

"Typically in many traffic crashes, there are a number of contributing factors related to moving violations such as speeding, improper lane usage, etc., but distracted driving is just as dangerous," Budds said. "Our agency does not have any statistics available that enumerate crashes caused by distracted driving."

Philip Kubisztal, deputy police chief of LaGrange Park, said the extent of the problem is difficult to quantify.

"The identification of driving distractions and their role in the crash can be very difficult for law enforcement, since most of that information relies upon self-reporting," Kubisztal said. "Most drivers involved in traffic crashes do not readily report a distracted condition, sometimes from embarrassment or fear of creating additional civil liability for the traffic crash upon themselves."

Area police departments also may take slightly different approaches and see various challenges in enforcing the new laws.

"Oak Brook will start with warning tickets to advise motorists for a period of time and then step up enforcement after that," Sheahan said. "It doesn't do us any good to write tickets right off the bat. Our goal is compliance."

Sheahan also said it will be difficult to spot offenders because electronic devices for texting are generally below the car window in the driver's lap.

In Elmhurst, Neubauer anticipates the cell phone ban will be difficult to enforce near schools and construction sites because the zones begin and end quickly. The chief said police will rely on drivers to respect the new laws and be self-disciplined behind the wheel.

Holub said La Grange police are discussing enforcement options, including using cameras inside squad cars to capture texting and cell phone offenders on tape.

"Unlike speeding tickets, where we use radar as our guide, there is no electronic device to help us," Holub said, concerning cyberspace and cell violators.

It's also possible police will conduct a campaign to catch cell users in school zones with a pedestrian observer radioing police in cars to curb offenders. The effort would be similar to the various seat belt campaigns, he said.

In Darien, Cooper said unless an officer sees the violations, proving a driver was texting when he swerved or hit the car ahead will be difficult, he said.

Anderson said Clarendon Hills officers have been directed to "pay specific attention to this offense, particularly near schools, parks and our business district."

"Police chiefs were criticized when we made seat belt enforcement a priority," Anderson said. "We know that this simple act has dramatically reduced the incidents of death and injury in automobile accidents. We are prepared to accept the criticism because we are sure we are saving lives and injury."

In Western Springs, Budds said it may be a challenge for patrol officers to establish probable cause to initiate a traffic stop by actually observing a driver texting.

"In most cases, the driver will be holding the device at a level below the vehicle's windows as they text," Budds said. "However, if a patrol officer can clearly observe a driver texting in violation of these laws, they will certainly be encouraged to take the appropriate enforcement action."

Tim Vaclav, deputy chief of the Burr Ridge Police Department said no matter how difficult the new laws might be to enforce, they are "absolutely necessary."

"Eighty percent of crashes are caused by distracted drivers," Vaclav said, adding police "certainly will be on the lookout for it."

Hinsdale police expect to conduct an informational campaign to enlist compliance, Wodka said. Initially, motorists will receive warnings of violations, as well as pamphlets informing them of the new laws.

That approach has proven successful on campaigns to improve seat belt, drunken driving, stop sign and railroad crossing compliance, he said.

Holub agrees a substantial education effort is needed to overcome people's resistance to changing their texting habits.

"Once some tickets start going around maybe people will realize the new laws are enforceable," he said. "It may take the first half of the year for people to get used to the idea.

"Anything we can do is good to help get people more focused on what they're doing in a car and remember the fact that they're driving a potential lethal weapon. If you're guiding a 2,000-pound piece of steel, why do anything to take your attention off that?"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NEWS: 2 police-involved shootings overnight; 1 dead, 1 wounded

From the Chicago Tribune

Chicago police shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at them on the Northwest Side in one of two police-involved shootings reported in the city overnight.

In the second instance, police said they wounded a fleeing suspect during a foot chase on the West Side. The suspect had pointed a gun at pursuing officers, police said.

No officer was hurt in either incident.

The first shooting happened shortly before 11 p.m. Monday at a residence in the 5500 block of West Henderson Street.

Responding to a call of a person with a gun, Jefferson Park District officers were told by the landlord that one of her tenants pointed a gun at her, police said.

The officers were then confronted by a man with a handgun. The officers told him they were Chicago police officers and ordered him to drop the weapon.

"The [suspect] refused to comply and pointed the gun in the direction of the officers," police said in a statement. "As a result of this action, the officers discharged their weapons, striking and fatally wounding the suspect."

Officials could not immediately release his identity, saying only he was in his 30s. His gun was confiscated.

The second police-involved shooting happened about 12:45 a.m. in the 3800 block of West Chicago Avenue, with the incident beginning near an alley south of Chicago and Springfield avenues.

Police said Harrison District officers were on routine patrol when they were flagged down by people who said they had been shot at by occupants of a green van.

The officers spotted a vehicle matching that description and followed it into the alley. The driver, armed with a handgun, got out and began running with police in pursuit. During the chase, the suspect turned and aimed his weapon at the officers, who fired and struck him, police said.

The suspect was able to continue running but was taken into custody in the 800 block of North Springfield, police said. He was taken to an area hospital, but his condition wasn't available.

The Independent Police Review Authority, which probes shootings involving Chicago police officers, was investigating both incidents, according to an IPRA spokesman.

--Jeremy Gorner

NEWS: Fewer L.E. Officers Died on Job in 2009

--Good news, considering I feel like all I do sometimes is post death notices.--

Article from
Associated Press Writer


Law enforcement deaths this year dropped to their lowest level since 1959, while the decade of the 2000s was among the safest for officers - despite the deadliest single day for police on Sept. 11, 2001.

The drop in deaths, cited in a police group's report Monday, was tempered by an increase in firearm deaths. In one horrific November shooting, four officers were executed as they discussed their upcoming shift in a Lakewood, Wash., coffee shop.

Through Dec. 27, the report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found:

_124 officers were killed this year, compared to 133 in 2008. The 2009 total represents the fewest line-of-duty deaths since 108 a half-century ago.

_Traffic fatalities fell to 56, compared to 71 a year ago. The report said the decline was partly attributed to "move over" state laws, which require motorists to change lanes to give officers clearance on the side of a road.

_Firearms deaths rose to 48, nine more than in 2008. However, the 39 fatalities in 2008 represented the lowest annual figure in more than five decades.

_Thirty-five states and Puerto Rico had officer fatalities in 2009, with Texas the only state in double figures. Texas had 11 fatalities, followed by Florida, 9; California, 8; and North Carolina and Pennsylvania, 7.

_Six federal officers died in 2009, including three Drug Enforcement Administration special agents killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan while conducting counter-narcotics operations.

_One female officer was killed in 2009, compared with 13 the previous year. There was no explanation for the decline.

_An average of 162 officers a year died in the 2000s, compared with 160 in the 1990s, 190 in the 1980s and 228 in the 1970s - the deadliest decade for U.S. law enforcement. Seventy-two officers died on Sept. 11.

"To reach a 50-year low in officer deaths is a real credit to the law enforcement profession and its commitment to providing the best possible training and equipment to our officers," said the Memorial Fund chairman and chief executive officer, Craig Floyd.

"But we cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into a state of complacency. There are nearly 60,000 criminal assaults against our law officers every year in this country, resulting in more than 15,000 injuries. And, over the past decade, more than 1,600 officers have been killed in the line of duty."

Fifteen deaths occurred in five incidents during the year, showing the potential danger in domestic disturbances, traffic stops and serving arrest warrants.

In March, four Oakland, Calif., officers were killed after a traffic stop and subsequent barricade incident.

Three Pittsburgh officers, responding to a domestic disturbance, were ambushed in April by a heavily armed gunman wearing a bullet-resistant vest.

That same month, two Okaloosa County, Fla., sheriff's deputies were gunned down while trying to arrest a domestic violence suspect.

In July, two Seminole County, Okla., sheriff's deputies were shot and killed while trying to serve an arrest warrant.

Domestic disturbance calls were particularly dangerous for officers in 2009, resulting in 11 deaths, while unprovoked ambushes led to the deaths of six officers.

The report was issued in conjunction with a second police group, Concerns of Police Survivors.

R.I.P.: Wash. Deputy Wounded in Ambush Dies

Officers salute as the flag-draped coffin of Pierce County Deputy Kent Mundell Jr. is moved through the tunnel that connects Harborview Medical Center to the King County medical examiner's office.

The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.

Before he was taken off life support, deputy Kent Mundell's family gathered with him in his hospital room.

They had story time with him, and his wife stood by his side while doctors removed him from life support. At 5:04 p.m. Monday, the deputy died of his wounds.

"It's obvious that everybody was waiting for a miracle that didn't come," Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said in announcing Mundell's death.

Mundell, 44, and Sgt. Nick Hausner were shot Dec. 21 while responding to a domestic violence call near Eatonville. Hausner was treated and later released, but Mundell had been in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle since that night.

Mundell and Hausner were dispatched to the small house near Tanwax Lake after someone there called 911 to report that a man was "drunk and belligerent" and refusing to leave. David Edward Crable -- who had a history of domestic violence -- initially agreed to leave the home but later pulled out a pistol and opened fire. Mundell traded fire with Crable, killing him.

Troyer said the doctors made it clear that Mundell would not be able to survive without life support. His family decided it was time to say goodbye Monday afternoon.

"None of us are doing well," Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said. "This is somebody we know, somebody we worked with, somebody we have taken risks with and somebody who's backed us up."

In a statement, Gov. Chris Gregoire said, "Though his life was cut far too short by this act of violence, his memory will live on in the many people he protected and served. I stand with law enforcement from across the state as we honor this fallen hero."

"The entire Pierce County family is saddened tonight by the loss of sheriff's deputy Kent Mundell," Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said in a statement. "We all struggle to understand why his life was taken in another senseless act of violence."

Pastor and Troyer fought back tears while speaking with the media about the deputy. After an initial briefing, Troyer emerged with a fresh black stripe over his badge. Dozens of officers from multiple area agencies were on hand when Mundell died. They lined the hospital's hallway when he was taken to the King County Medical Examiner's Office. Pastor visited his deputy's bedside last week and prayed over him.

Troyer said dispatchers told officers working in the field over the radio that their comrade had died.

"It's been a long fight," Troyer said.

Pastor said Monday night that the shooting will not affect police officers' resolve in doing their jobs.

"People will be putting on their uniforms, and putting on their badges and they will be taking the same risks," he said. "Thank God there are people who are willing to continue to do that."

Mundell is a graduate of Rogers High School in Puyallup and a married father of a 16-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. He joined the department on Jan. 10, 2000, and worked out of the Mountain Dispatch office in Eatonville.

He is the sixth Western Washington police officer shot and killed on duty in the past two months. Seattle officer Timothy Brenton was killed while sitting in his car with another officer on Halloween night. Four Lakewood officers -- Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens -- were shot and killed while sitting in a Parkland coffee shop on Nov. 29.

Now, law enforcement agencies have to plan for another memorial, tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday.

"Unfortunately in Western Washington, we're really good at putting on police funerals," Troyer said.

Monday, December 28, 2009

NEWS: Convicted of corruption, 12 still await sentencing

--Vito Scavo gets a mention in this article--
Convicted of corruption, their cooperation delays prison terms

December 28, 2009

BY TIM NOVAK Staff Reporter

It has been more than four years since Jacob Kiferbaum pleaded guilty in a kickback scheme involving a hospital that needed state approval for a construction project, one of the earliest corruption scandals under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Kiferbaum, though, has yet to spend a day in prison.

The north suburban construction magnate is one of 12 men convicted in Illinois political corruption cases who still await sentencing months -- in some cases, years -- after their convictions.

What's keeping them out of prison? For most, it's the help they're offering authorities in ongoing cases, involving Blagojevich and others -- cooperation that could cut their prison time.

For now, most of them are living at home, trying to lead normal lives. One found work delivering packages. One has helped build homes for the poor. Another has given lectures to students in Lebanon.

The lone exception among them: Tony Rezko, who was a major campaign fund-raiser for Blagojevich, among other politicians.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: New Badge May Have Saved Tenn. Officer

The Commercial Appeal

Oakland police switched to heavier badges this year, and that might have saved an officer's life early Christmas Eve.

Officer Joshua Smith's new badge protected him during an exchange of gunfire following a traffic stop about 1 a.m. Thursday, Oakland Police Chief Keith Hogwood said.

Police were still looking Thursday night for two men who fled the scene.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: Hillside police collect for less fortunate families

Over the past few weeks members of Hillside Police Department have been working to bring cheer to the less fortunate during the Christmas season.

On their own time, several members of the Police Department set up boxes at local businesses to collect food, toys and clothing, they planned to give out to the less fortunate.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


Sunday, December 27, 2009

NEWS: Goal of fewer '09 traffic deaths within reach

December 26, 2009

The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking drivers for a very special Christmas present this year -- to end 2009 with 100 fewer vehicle-related fatalities than last year on Illinois roads.

As of Thursday evening, there have been 909 fatalities in Illinois in 2009, according to the state police Web site. That's 105 less than at this time last year. If the state can finish out the year at the current level, it not only will meet IDOT's Save 100 Campaign goal of cutting down the number of accident-related deaths by 100, it also will be the first time since 1921 that Illinois has recorded fewer than 1,000 fatalities in a year, IDOT said.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: Bolingbrook cops investigating Christmas party murder

December 27, 2009


Police on Saturday continued their search for the man who fatally stabbed a still-unidentified man after a Christmas party in a home here.

The victim – identified only as a 30-year-old Hispanic man from Romeoville - was pronounced dead at 8:48 a.m. Saturday. An official of Will County Coroner Patrick K. O'Neil's office on Saturday performed an autopsy on his body.

Laboratory toxicological test results of fluids from the body are pending, and thus the official cause and manner of death have not been determined, according to a pre-recorded telephone message from O'Neil's office. The death appeared to have been a homicide, the message declared.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: Officer serves, protects and consoles family facing hardships

Tondonlia Brown and her two young children escaped a Christmas morning fire, only to return to their South Side apartment and find burglars had stolen their gifts and many of their possessions.

Just as the holiday was looking grim, Chicago Police Officer Michael Lawrence stepped in with toys and a gift card. He had responded to the burglary call, and after talking to Brown and the children, he couldn't get their plight off his mind.

"I saw a true sorrow in her face," said Lawrence, 32, an eight-year veteran working in the Englewood District.

Brown and her children, Shaun Taylor, 6, and Keiara Taylor, 2, are grateful.

Story Continues >HERE<<


Saturday, December 26, 2009

NEWS: U.S. Charges Nigerian Man With Trying to Destroy Detroit-Bound Plane

--Nice way to end the year. Just when we start to relax. Vigilance is the going to be the keyword of the past decade.--

Travel Security Clampdown as Officials Chase Answers on Failed 'Terrorism' Bid

Dec. 26, 2009

The U.S. government charged a Nigerian man Saturday with attempting to destroy a Detroit-bound plane and with placing a destructive device on board.

"Had this alleged plot to destroy an airplane been successful, scores of innocent people would have been killed or injured," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously, and we will use all measures available to our government to ensure that anyone responsible for this attempted attack is brought to justice."

The alleged attack swung into motion Friday as Northwest Airlines flight 253 made its final approach into Detroit. A man identified as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, tried to blow up the plane with 278 people onboard, injuring himself and two other passengers, according to White House and law enforcement officials.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


R.I.P.: Missouri Trooper Struck, Killed at Crash Scene

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2009 News

A Missouri Highway Patrol trooper was killed on Christmas morning after being struck at the scene of an accident, according to KTVI-TV.

Cpl. Dennis Engelhard responded to an accident of Interstate 44 near Eureka at approximately 9:30 a.m. and waited with the people involved in the crash for a tow truck.

After about forty minutes on the scene, he exited his car right as an oncoming SUV lost control and hit him.

Officials would not disclose why the vehicle may have lost control, but said the conditions -- which included snow -- could have factored into the crash.

The 49-year-old had been a trooper for 10 years, beginning his service in the Franklin County area and before being promoted to corporal in St. Louis County.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from Duke's Blotter

Thank you to everyone for reading and unless there's a major event I am really going to try and stay off the computer. So, to all my friends (and critics) I hope you and your families have a MERRY CHRISTMAS. And please, be extra careful out there, we all know how the holidays don't always bring cheer for some.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NEWS: Mobster's holiday dinner

Reputed Cicero mob boss Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno got approval to go to the swanky Joe' Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab on Christmas Eve.
(Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times)

'LARGE GUY' SARNO | He gets OK from judge to go to Joe's on Christmas Eve

December 23, 2009


What does a reputed Chicago mob boss under house arrest do for holiday dinner?

First, if possible, get a judge to let you outside your house.

Next, don't waste the opportunity and get approval to go to the swanky Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in downtown Chicago on Christmas Eve.

That's just what reputed Cicero mob boss Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno did.

A federal magistrate judge recently approved that trip for Sarno, 51, of Westchester, to have dinner with his extended family at Joe's Seafood, 60 E. Grand, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: Elmhurst officers home after 10-month tour of duty

--Welcome home guys and thank you--

December 22, 2009

For 36-year-old Mike Pretto, simply being home is enough of a Christmas gift this season.

He recently completed a 10-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, and the part-time Elmhurst police officer will spend his holiday with all the luxuries and freedoms he spent the last year without.

Home cooked favorites will be readily available, the company of his family and friends will be easily accessible and the love of his wife, Jennifer, ever present.

"You are sacrificing a lot of your freedoms to be over there, oddly enough to give people their freedom," he said.

Story Continues >>HERE<<



Published Date/Time: 12/23/2009 14:55:26

Abduction Information
Date: 12/23/2009
Time: 130pm
Location of Abduction:

2916 Gilead Street, Zion

Child(ren) Name(s): Dyniste T Finley, female, black, 3 months old, and Destiney T Finley, female, black, 23 months old
Description of Abduction:



Contact Organization
Sheriff's Dept or Municipal PD: pd zion il
Contact Person: officer munding
Phone: 847-872-4505
Authorized By: Tpr Mark Beagles
Submitted By: Gina Fiene
Submitted Date/Time: 12/23/2009 14:55:26

Illinois State Police Amber Alert

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NEWS: Two Wash. Deputies Wounded in Ambush

--Seems to be a trend lately, ambushing the cops. please, be careful.--
It's the same county where four officers were killed
Posted: December 22nd, 2009 02:53 PM EDT

The Seattle Times

EATONVILLE, Wash. -- Two Pierce County sheriff's deputies were seriously wounded late Monday after they were "ambushed" while responding to a domestic-violence call, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The shooting suspect, identified as 35-year-old David E. Crable, was shot and killed in the Monday night shootout near Eatonville, sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said.

A deputy, shot multiple times, was in critical condition early Tuesday morning after being flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was undergoing surgery, Troyer said.

A sergeant, a longtime veteran, was shot once and was in stable condition at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis. He has spoken with investigators, according to a law-enforcement source.

The Sheriff's Department did not immediately identify either deputy, but both are reportedly married and have children.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: City passes budget, tightens belt

--Yup, tighten the belt. Let's lay off a few police employees but insure certain department heads will be making well over 120K for the year. Hmmmmmm. I wonder if they budgeted an extra $62.00 for my retirement badge they refuse to give me after 19 years of service?--

December 22, 2009

The Northlake City Council approved a tight budget for 2010 on Dec. 7.

"We managed to balance the budget, just barely," Ald. Francine Patti said.

In 2010, the city hopes to bring in just under $24 million.

"Generally, the revenues are down in motor fuel tax, down in our share of the state income tax," Mayor Jeff Sherwin said. "Sales tax might be slightly up or a little flat."

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: City buys building where teen was killed this year

--Ya know, I could really get going here but it's the holidays. The city is such an easy target for its stupidity I figure, why bother.--

December 22, 2009

The city of Northlake is buying a foreclosed apartment building at 58 E. North Avenue, directly across the street from City Hall.

The property will be held for eventual redevelopment, with the building to be demolished, perhaps by the end of 2010.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: Off-duty cop charged in fatal crash was three times legal limit

Lockport officer Eddie Stapinski is charged with drunken driving in the Sunday night crash on the Stevenson Expressway that left Mike Wong dead.

December 22, 2009
BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporter

An off-duty cop accused of causing a fatal accident on the Stevenson Expy. Sunday night was nearly three times over the legal blood alcohol level at the time of the crash, prosecutors said this morning.

Lockport police officer Eddie Stapinski, 34, was ordered held on bail of $750,000 by Judge Maureen Patricia Feerick during a brief hearing Tuesday at Bridgeview Courthouse.

Assistant Cook County States Attorney John Carroll said Stapinski had a blood alcohol level of 0.223 when he was admitted to Mt. Sinai Hospital following the accident.

Stapinski told police he was driving 80 mph when he crashed on I-55 near Cicero, killing 29-year-old Mike Wong, Carroll said.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


Monday, December 21, 2009

NEWS: Court overturns California ban on violent felons owning body armor

--Ya gotta love California--

Police advocacy group says the ruling will put officers and the public in danger. 'It's going to make criminals more bold and more likely to shoot it out with the police,' one official says.

By Robert Faturechi

December 20, 2009

A police advocacy group has criticized an appeals court judgment last week overturning a law that prevented violent felons from owning body armor, saying the ruling will put officers and the public in danger.

The decade-old ban was enacted after the 1997 North Hollywood shootout, a confrontation between police and two heavily armored bank robbers that injured officers and civilians. The state Legislature passed the ban in 1998 as a measure to protect police.

Thursday's ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles overturned the state law, saying it was unconstitutional because the definition of body armor was too vague.

"It just makes this job that much more dangerous," said Paul Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League union for LAPD officers.

"It's going to make criminals more bold and more likely to shoot it out with the police."

Story Continues >>HERE<<


Police Blotters December 20, 2009

--A few days late, sorry. Click on the town your interested in--

>>Franklin Park, Northlake<<



>>Elmwood Park<<

>>Harwood Heights, Norridge<<

>>Oak Park<<

>>River Forest<<


NEWS: Three-car Stevenson crash kills 1

--Seems an off duty Lockport cop may himself some problems--

December 21, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A suburban police officer is suspected of causing a fatal crash on I-55 at Cicero Sunday night that killed a Chinatown man.

Investigators were questioning the off-duty officer involved. The crash shut down most of the inbound Stevenson for hours.

The crash happened around 9:45 p.m. Sunday. State police say 29-year-old Man K. Wong of Chicago died in the crash after his vehicle was struck by an out-of-control driver. A second vehicle was also struck, but that driver is OK and was not hospitalized.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: Couple Angry At Cops For Storming Their Home

SWAT Team Didn't Have Proper Warrant To Break Down Doors

--I put that above my comment because I love it. I didn't know there was a special warrant required to break in a door. Guess the law has changed and I missed it. And I love how they say they served an arrest warrant, ummm, it was a search warrant hence the ability to knock down the door. I think the departments involved should have faced the media instead of "no comment" but that is just my opinion. Anyways, can't wait to see this play out.--


A night of watching TV turned into a surreal nightmare for one retired couple who suddenly had their home invaded by a police SWAT team.

Police said they had a job to do, but the couple said the SWAT team ruined their home and injured them for no reason, and they are telling their story to 2 Investigator Dave Savini.

Larry Smolek, 67, showed the 2 Investigators ten broken windows. Smolek said he and his wife Georgiana got the shock of their lives last month when masked men with weapons stormed their home.

"It was like somebody was shooting a machine gun at us through the windows," said Georgiana Smolek.

The retired couple said that on Nov. 23, dozens of police officers blasted into their Franklin Park house, injuring them.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: Cops: Des Plaines officer kills man wielding ax

December 21, 2009 10:28 AM UPDATED STORY

A 24-year-old man was shot and killed by a Des Plaines police officer early this morning after he came after the officer with an ax, police said.

Krzysztof Kaczor, 24, of the 400 block of East Washington St. in the northwest suburb, was pronounced dead at 2:14 a.m. at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Kaczor was shot by a 10-year veteran of the Des Plaines Police Department as Kaczor came at the officer with an ax a little after 1:15 a.m., said Des Plaines Police Chief Jim Prandini.

Initial information indicates the officer acted appropriately, Prandini said. "Reviewing the facts that we know now, it was a good shoot," he said.

Officers responded to a call of shots fired at Kaczor's home address and spotted him running through the neighborhood with an ax, Prandini said. Police caught up with Kaczor in the 200 block of Oxford Road, about a block and a half away, and one officer got out of his police car, and ordered Kaczor to drop the axd, Prandini said.

Kaczor "continued toward the officer to strike him," Prandini said. "Fearing for his life, he then shot the person."

Other officers were in the area but did not open fire, Prandini said.

Police haven't been able to determine who made the original call regarding the shots fired or even if Kaczor might have made the call himself, Prandini said. Police had been called to Kaczor's address in October regarding a report of underage drinking, Prandini said.

Following the shooting, the officer was put on administrative leave, which relieves him of street duty, Prandini said. The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force has already visited the department to begin investigating the circumstances of the shooting, which is normal procedure in police-involved shootings in Des Plaines and other suburbs.
-- Liam Ford, Deanese Williams-Harris

R.I.P.: Ariz. Officer Killed by Patrol Car in Chase

The Associated Press


An Arizona law officer has died after being struck by another officer's patrol car while laying down spike strips during a high-speed chase.

The Department of Public Safety says 28-year-old Chris Marano died Thursday night.

Lt. Steve Harrison says the chase reached speeds of 100 mph, starting after a vehicle was spotted with a stolen license plate.

As another officer pursued the suspect, Marano laid down spike strips to stop the suspect's vehicle. The DPS vehicle struck Marano in the roadway. Authorities are trying to determine if the suspect's car also hit him.

The chase continued and the female driver fled on foot and was captured hiding on a porch. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of dog bites and faces several felony charges.

R.I.P.: Border Patrol Agent Dies on Duty

James Gilbert
The Sun, Yuma, Ariz.

Dec. 17--A Yuma Sector Border Patrol agent died early Thursday morning after collapsing at an immigration checkpoint.

The agent has been identified as 40-year-old John Hoag III, a six-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, according to a news statement released Thursday by Yuma Sector Border Patrol.

Hoag joined the Border Patrol on Dec. 15, 2003.

Agent Ben Vik, a spokesman for the Yuma Sector, said Hoag collapsed while working at the immigration checkpoint on Highway 95, which is just south of the city of Quartzsite.

Vik said Hoag was transported by ambulance to Yuma Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just after 7 a.m. The cause of death was not yet known.

Efforts by agents at the scene, as well as by emergency medical technicians from Yuma Proving Ground and medical personnel from Quartzsite, were all unsuccessful in reviving Hoag, said Vik.

Hoag leaves behind a wife and three children.

In the news statement, local Border Patrol officials stated: "This is a loss that is deeply felt by the men and women of the Yuma Sector. John was a member of our family and we will miss him. The United States Border Patrol will honor John's memory in everything we do as we work to provide for a secure America.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

NEWS (ELECTRONIC GAMING): So what happens to gaming operators caught breaking law?

'GRAY MACHINES' | Board may ban them when devices are legalized
December 17, 2009
BY CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporter

It's one of Illinois' worst-kept secrets: Tens of thousands of video-gaming machines installed for entertainment-only purposes at taverns and other venues often are actually used for illegal gambling.

It's so common, in fact, that the devices are known as "gray machines" because of the legal gray area in which they exist.

Now -- as Illinois is in the throes of legalizing video gambling to help fund a massive statewide jobs-creation program -- those gray machines could deal a black eye to the anticipated tax revenue that video gaming is supposed to provide.

That's because Illinois Gaming Board members are signaling they might keep people who've been prosecuted or fined for operating gray machines from taking part in legal video gambling when it's set to begin late next year.

Illinois now licenses 21,000 so-called amusement-only gaming devices at a rate of $30 per machine. The number of unlicensed machines is estimated at 40,000-plus, and there's evidence that both licensed and unlicensed machines are being used illegally.

By law, the Gaming Board is charged with getting video gaming up and running, including licensing machine suppliers and operators.

Story Continued >>HERE<<


NEWS: D.C. Officer Arrested on Murder Charge

The Washington Examiner

A veteran D.C. police officer swept the streets of drug dealers so his friends could more easily rob one of their street rivals, authorities alleged.

The robbery went bad, and now authorities have charged the officer, 40-year-old Reggie Jones, with felony murder in the Dec. 1 shooting death of Arvell Alston.

Jones came to work at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and was met by his chief, Cathy Lanier, and homicide detectives, who clapped him in handcuffs.

D.C. police officials are now facing the possibility that a rogue cop acted as a street enforcer for a vicious drug crew, Lanier said Tuesday. She acknowledged at a hastily called news conference Tuesday night that her internal affairs investigators were probing the possibility that Jones, a six-year veteran who worked in the gun recovery section of the department's major narcotics unit, also helped his friends and relatives in the crew tamper with evidence.

"The worst that a police officer can do is betray the public's trust, and this officer went well beyond that," Lanier said. "This officer desecrated the very office he was sworn to uphold."

Story Continued >>HERE<<


NEWS: Man charged with running over cyclist in gang fight

December 17, 2009


A West Ridge neighborhood man was charged with murder early Thursday for allegedly killing an “innocent bystander” on a bicyclist when he struck him with one of two vans ramming each other in a Tuesday afternoon gang-related conflict on the Northwest Side.

Tyrice Pryor, 21, of 6157 N. Hamilton Ave., was charged with murder, according to police. The charge was approved at 1:05 a.m., police said.

Pryor is accused of driving a van that fatally struck a cyclist about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 3800 block of West Diversey Avenue, police said.

Jepson Livingston, 32, of 2706 N. St. Louis Ave., was hit while riding a bike and pronounced dead at 12:57 p.m. Tuesday Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

A police report indicated Pryor was identified as the driver a vehicle seen traveling east on Diversey Avenue at a high rate of speed, chasing another vehicle. Pryor was allegedly seen rear-ending or ramming the other vehicle near 3833 W. Diversey Ave., according to the report.

Story Continued >>HERE<<


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NEWS: Brian Dugan gets death sentence

--And, it should be a slow painful death for what he has done--
Brian Dugan was convicted for the 1983 murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico and today sentenced to death.

December 16, 2009

BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter

A DuPage County judge today formally sentenced Brian Dugan to death for the notorious murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico and set a symbolic execution date of Feb. 25 — the 27th anniversary of the slaying.

As Judge George Bakalis imposed the sentence ordered last month by a jury, he looked directly across the courtroom at Dugan and said, “I believe even you recognize this is the proper verdict.’’

Story Continued >>HERE<<


NEWS: Md. Officer Sues County Over Heart Problems

--This will have an interesting outcome I'm sure. Will end being an important court decision.--

The Washington Examiner

A former local basketball standout who played professionally before becoming a Montgomery County police officer is suing the county over compensation for his having developed heart problems.

Steven Hood starred at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville in the mid-'80s and later for James Madison University. He then played almost a decade of professional basketball overseas, court records show.

Hood became a Montgomery County police officer in 2005 and developed heart problems last year, court records show. A doctor said Hood was treated for hypertension and "returned to full duty and has had no subsequent problems," court records show. Records also indicate Hood had no heart problems before joining the force, but his father had a history of heart problems.

Story Continued >>HERE<<


NEWS: Police identify remains, look for link to 'Green River Killer'

(CNN) -- The remains of an Oregon teenager missing for more than 25 years were recently identified by authorities, and police are looking into whether she might have been a victim of Gary Ridgway, known as the "Green River Killer."

Police believe Ridgway could be responsible for the death of Angela Marie Girdner because her body was found within a mile of the remains of two other women that Ridgway admitted killing, the county sheriff's office said. Those bodies were found in Washington County, Oregon, near Portland. The bodies of Ridgway's other 46 victims were found in the Seattle, Washington, area.

Story Continued >>HERE<<


Duke's Daily Blotter now on Twitter

The whole blog should feed to it but they are having issues on their end. For those that use Twitter the blotter is located at I will use it for immediate news releases and hopefully they will get their technical issues worked out. As always, you can get all your information right here as well.


NEWS: Woman sues Naperville, reality TV show

I know, Naperville is usually out of my geographical reporting area but this made me giggle.--

December 15, 2009 10:53 PM

Cable television may be full of everyday folks trying to become stars on reality shows, but Eran Best isn't one of them.

The Woodridge woman says she was humiliated after she was featured on "Female Forces," a Biography Channel reality show that follows female Naperville police officers, when she was pulled over in February 2008 for an expired license plate.

She filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the City of Naperville, two police officers and the show's production company, alleging her segment aired despite her refusal to consent to her image being broadcast.

"This is the last thing I wanted ... and I was just shocked," Best said in a telephone interview.

Story Continues >>HERE<<


NEWS: $4 million cocaine bust on I-55

--CPAT, never heard of it, must be something new?--

December 16, 2009

BOLINGBROOK -- Police say minor traffic violations led to a multimillion-dollar drug seizure Monday.

Cooperative Police Assistance Team Director Jamal Simington said a state trooper pulled over a 2007 Dodge pickup at 6:19 a.m. at milepost 265 on Interstate 55. Citation reports indicate the vehicle had "improper lighting" and the driver committed improper lane usage.

"The trooper and his canine went to the vehicle, where the officer spoke with the two people inside, Noemi Gutierrez, 22, and Gabriel C. Andres, 44," Simington said.

The dog reportedly smelled narcotics.

Story Continued >>HERE<<


NEWS: Chicago cop, 1 other hurt in Far South Side fire

December 16, 2009 8:05 AM | BREAKING STORY

A Chicago police officer was hurt while responding to a fire at a Far South Side residence this morning.

The officer suffered smoke inhalation, as did a civilian, in the blaze in the 10400 block of South King Drive.

Read more >>HERE<<


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NEWS: CPD discharges cop in bartender beating

December 15, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A Chicago police officer who was caught on surveillance video attacking a female bartender half his size in 2007 has been discharged from the force.

Anthony Abbate was removed from the Chicago Police Department on Tuesday. The Chicago Police Board unanimously found Abbate guilty of aggravated battery and other charges from the February 19, 2007 attack at a Northwest Side tavern.

''The board has upheld something our department recommended some time ago,'' said Roderick Drew of Chicago Police Dept.

The board found Abbate guilty of throwing a female bartender to the floor and punching and kicking her repeatedly. He was also found guilty of striking a customer of the bar numerous times earlier in the evening. These incidents were captured by the bar's surveillance video camera.

Back in June, a Chicago judge sentenced Abbate to two years of probation after he was convicted of aggravated battery.

NEWS: Illinois Prison to Get Gitmo Detainees

--I don't know, but this really doesn't bother me.--

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
The White House plans to announce that the Thomson Correctional Center will be acquired by the federal government.
Associated Press Writer


Taking an important step on the thorny path to closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the White House plans to announce Tuesday that the government will acquire an underutilized state prison in rural Illinois to be the new home for a limited number of terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo.

Administration officials as well as Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will make an official announcement at the White House.

Officials from both the White House and Durbin's office confirmed that President Barack Obama had directed the government to acquire Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Ill., a sleepy town near the Mississippi River about 150 miles from Chicago. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting Tuesday's announcement.

A Durbin aide said the facility would house federal inmates and no more than 100 detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

The facility in Thomson had emerged as a clear front-runner after Illinois officials, led by Durbin, enthusiastically embraced the idea of turning a near-dormant prison over to federal officials.

The White House has been coy about its selection process, but on Friday a draft memo leaked to a conservative Web site that seemed to indicate officials were homing in on Thomson.

The Thomson Correctional Center was one of several potential sites evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to potentially house detainees from the Navy-run prison at Guantanamo Bay. Officials with other prisons, including Marion, Ill., Hardin, Mont., and Florence, Colo., have said they would welcome the jobs that would be created by the new inmates.

Closing Guantanamo is a top priority for Obama, and he signed an executive order hours into his presidency directing that the process of closing the prison begin. Obama has said he wants terrorism suspects transferred to American soil so they can be tried for their suspected crimes.

The Thomson Correctional Center was built by Illinois in 2001 as a state prison with the potential to house maximum security inmates. Local officials hoped it would improve the local economy, providing jobs to a hard-hit community. State budget problems, however, have kept the 1,600-cell prison from ever fully opening. At present, it houses about 200 minimum-security inmates.

Obama has faced some resistance to the idea of housing terrorism suspects in the United States, but in Thomson many have welcomed the prospect as a potential economic engine. Thomson Village President Jerry Hebeler, was asleep when the word came that Thomson had been chosen.

"It's news to me, but then I'm always the last to know anything," Hebeler said Monday night of the news affecting his town of 450 residents. "It'll be good for the village and the surrounding area, especially with all the jobs that have been lost here."

But Hebeler said he wouldn't rejoice until "the ink is on the paper" because previous plans for increased use of the nearly empty prison have fallen through.

Some Illinois officials have not supported the idea. GOP Rep. Mark Kirk, who is seeking Obama's old Senate seat, said he believes moving Guantanamo detainees to Illinois will make the state a greater threat for terrorist attacks. Kirk has lobbied other officials to contact the White House in opposition to using the facility.

To be sure, Thomson will not solve all the administration's Guantanamo-related problems. There still will be dozens of detainees who are not relocated to Thomson, other legal issues and potential resistance from Congress.

Thomson is a symbolic step, however, a clear sign that the United States is working to find a new place to hold detainees from Guantanamo.

NEWS: 'Goodfellas' mobster charged in Ill. disturbance

--So much for a low key lifestyle.--

Mobster-turned-FBI informant Henry Hill was arrested in Fairview Heights on Sunday.(AP file)
December 15, 2009

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. -- A mobster-turned-FBI informant whose life inspired the movie "Goodfellas" is accused in southwestern Illinois of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Police in Fairview Heights arrested 66-year-old Henry Hill on Sunday at a hotel while he was in the area for a showing of his artwork.
» Click to enlarge image
Mobster-turned-FBI informant Henry Hill was arrested in Fairview Heights on Sunday.
(AP file)

Hill tells the Belleville News-Democrat he had what he called "one too many" drinks in a hotel lobby and that things "got pretty foggy after that."

He's free on bond.

The FBI leveraged a drug trafficking bust to get Hill to testify about New York mob murders and crime rings in 1980. He was initially in the federal witness protection program but was removed in the 1990s because of drug arrests.

Hill was played by Ray Liotta in the 1990 Martin Scorcese film "Goodfellas."

Monday, December 14, 2009

NEWS: LODDs by Gunfire Up 24 Percent From 2008

Posted: December 14th, 2009 12:18 PM GMT-05:00

Associated Press Writer


A police officer is gunned down in his patrol car in Penn Hills, Pa., while waiting for backup. Near Seattle, four officers starting their day at a coffee shop are ambushed by an ex-con with a handgun. Another four officers are shot to death in Oakland, Calif., after a traffic stop gone awry.

Across the nation, 2009 was a particularly perilous year for officers involved in gun disputes.

The number of officers killed in the line of duty by gunfire increased 24 percent from 2008, according to preliminary statistics compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a national nonprofit organization that tracks officer-related deaths.

As of Saturday, 47 police officers have died nationwide this year after being shot while on duty, up from 38 for the same time in 2008, which was the lowest number of gunfire deaths since 1956, according to the data.

Over the past decade, small spikes in gunfire deaths have been common, but experts say they are surprised by the number of officers this year who have been specifically targeted by gunmen.

"There's an increasingly desperate population out there," said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "Other than in rare cases for ideological reasons, we really haven't seen people taking on the cops head-to-head. Something is amiss. It should be cause for grave concern."

Contributing to this year's spike are cases in which several officers were shot and killed in groups - the four officers last month outside Seattle; the four officers in Oakland, Calif., in March; three officers in Pittsburgh in April; and two officers in Okaloosa County, Fla., in April.

In the Nov. 29 shootings near Seattle, four Lakewood Police Department officers, all in uniform, were sitting with their laptops at a bustling coffee shop when shots rang out. Authorities said the gunman, Maurice Clemmons, spared employees and other customers. Clemmons was later shot to death in a confrontation with another officer, who wasn't harmed.

Clemmons had a violent, erratic past in Washington state and Arkansas. His 108-year prison sentence for armed robbery and other offenses was commuted by then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000. Six days before the shooting, he had posted bail on charges of raping a child.

In the April 4 shooting in Pittsburgh, suspect Richard Poplawski has been accused by prosecutors of ambushing the three officers when they responded to a domestic disturbance call. Wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with weapons including an AK-47 assault rifle, he started shooting almost immediately after they arrived, authorities said. Poplawski has pleaded not guilty.

In other cases, it's not so clear whether the officers were targeted, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Oakland officers Mark Dunakin and John Hege were shot and killed during a traffic stop March 21. The suspect fled and barricaded himself in a home, where two SWAT officers were later shot and killed as they tried to enter.

In Penn Hills, Officer Michael Crawshaw was buried Friday, about a week after police say he was gunned down by a parolee wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle. Crawshaw was responding to a 911 call of shots fired and was waiting for backup when the suspect came out of the house and opened fire on his patrol car, police said.

The availability of guns compounds the problem, criminologists say. But Pennsylvania, the state with the most gun-related officer deaths so far this year, has among the strictest gun laws in the country, according to a ranking by the pro-gun-control Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Other states, like Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kentucky, have very little oversight and had few, if any, officer gun deaths this year.

Kevin Morison, a spokesman for the Officers Memorial Fund, which keeps the statistics, said he sees people on both sides of the gun debate using the numbers to prove points.

"But folks who are willing to intentionally target police officers seem to be able to find a way to accrue guns regardless of what the laws in those state would be," Morison said.

Overall gunfire deaths have more or less been on a steady decline for decades as more tools become available to keep officers safe. More officers are required to wear bullet-resistant vests. There's also better and faster medical care to save an officer's life.

In 1973, during a heyday of corruption and crime, there were around 600,000 officers and about 156 gunfire deaths. Currently, there are about 900,000 law enforcement officers nationwide and only 47 gunfire deaths this year - a per-capita decrease of nearly 21 percent.

Despite the increase in the number of gunfire deaths from 2008, there have been fewer overall officer deaths so far this year: 117, compared with 125 last year, according to the statistics. The major reason is that traffic deaths are down 24 percent.

"The chances of being killed in the line of duty are lower than they have been in modern times," Morison said. "But no one is immune to the dangers of the job."