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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

Friday, April 30, 2010

NEWS: Police: Child Molester Charged With Repeat Offense


Martin A. Weis, 45, of Melrose Park, is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. He is a repeat child molester.

--Now, maybe they'll keep this weirdo locked up where he belongs. He has been a pain in the neck and suspected of so much BS that hopefully this is finally it for him.--

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) ―

A convicted west suburban sex offender was ordered held on $100,000 bond Thursday after being charged with molesting another child, this one at the home of a friend he was staying with.

Martin A. Weis, 45, of Melrose Park, is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, according to a release from the Cook County Sheriff's office.

He was ordered held on $100,000 bond during a hearing Thursday at the Rolling Meadows courthouse, the release said.

Weis was between jobs and living with friends when the family he was staying with for about three months in an unincorporated area of west suburban Melrose Park kicked him out in April for allegedly molesting a child in their home, the release said. Suspected child pornography was also found in his belongings.

Weis was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 1988 in a similar case, in which he was staying with friends who discovered he was molesting a child in their home, the release said. His conviction was before sex offenders were required to register in Illinois, and he has not been listed in any state registry.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 19 in Rolling Meadows, the release said.

NEWS: Lakemoor will keep police force, cut budget elsewhere

--This is nice to hear from a community--

From Daily Herald

Lakemoor's elected officials Thursday night decided to keep the village police department after mulling whether to contract for patrol service from the Lake County sheriff's office as a possible way to save money.

But to keep the department in the face of a potential $400,000 budget deficit, a sergeant and a patrol officer were dismissed. Village trustees also voted to demote a police sergeant to a patrol job and knocked a clerk from full- to part-time duty.

Lakemoor Village President Todd Weihofen said the moves should save $120,000 to $150,000 annually in an effort to shrink the projected $400,000 shortfall. He said Lakemoor now has seven full-time cops instead of nine, and no part-time officers.

"Everything this board does is in the best interests of the residents," Weihofen said.

Village trustees did not vote on whether to contract with the sheriff's office because that proposal was deleted from Thursday night's agenda just before they agreed on the layoffs and the other police personnel moves.

Other small towns are closing police departments and contracting for patrol service as a way to save cash. Such was the case April 13 when Hainesville Mayor Linda Soto broke a 3-3 village board vote, allowing her to begin negotiating for police service from Grayslake and the Lake County sheriff.

Lakemoor police Chief Michael Marchese said there are significant plans in the works for his department. He said not only will there be organizational changes, but there is a committee studying potential construction of a combination village hall-police building within three years.

"I think their objective is to have a Lakemoor Police Department no matter what," said Marchese, who joined the village as top cop in late February after a 30-year Schaumburg career that included working as an investigative lieutenant.

Hainesville police Chief Wallace Frasier estimated it would have cost $1.1 million to keep the village department for the entire 2010-11 fiscal year that starts Saturday. Frasier, who was let go as Lakemoor's chief in May 2009, said Hainesville needed to move out of a startup mode.

Grayslake is offering complete police service to Hainesville for $711,782 in the new fiscal year. The Lake County sheriff's office proposes charging $791,566 for its complete patrol package.

Elsewhere in Lake County, Highwood considered scrapping its police department in favor of contracting with the sheriff's office in a potential cost-cutting move late last year. The Highwood city council has not acted on the idea.

R.I.P.: Sergeant Franco Aguilar

Sergeant Franco Aguilar
Sevier County Sheriff's Office

End of Watch: Thursday, April 29, 2010
Cause: Fall

Biographical Info
Age: 36
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available

Sergeant Franco Aguilar was killed at approximately 10:30 pm when he fell approximately 250-feet from a bridge on I-70.

He was investigating an accident on the bridge that involved a car that had crashed into a barrier after sliding on the snowy highway. As he gathered information from the driver an approaching SUV also lost control on the snow and slid into the vehicle that had previously crashed.

It is believed Sergeant Aguilar was either struck and thrown over the guardrail, or was attempting to jump out of the SUV's path, when he fell.

Sergeant Aguilar was killed on his 36th birthday.

Photograph: Sergeant Franco Aguilar

R.I.P.: Police Officer Bryan J. Durman

Police Officer Bryan J. Durman
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Police Department

End of Watch: Thursday, April 29, 2010
Cause: Vehicular assault

Biographical Info
Age: 27
Tour of Duty: 2 years, 6 months
Badge Number: Not available

Officer Bryan Durman was struck and killed by a hit-and-run at the intersection of Limestone Street and Alabama Street.

He was investigating a noise ordinance violation at approximately 10:00 pm. He had responded to the location to locate a vehicle that had been playing music too loudly.

After striking Officer Durman, the driver of the SUV fled to a nearby apartment, where he was taken into custody by members of the agency's ERU team. He was charged with murder and numerous additional charges in connection with the accident and previous warrants.

Officer Durman had served with the agency for 2 ½ years.

Photograph: Police Officer Bryan J. Durman

Patch image:  Lexington-Fayette Urban County Police Department, Kentucky

NEWS: (National) Marijuana delivery sting nets Chicago man

From Chicago Sun-Times

April 30, 2010

A Chicago man is facing one charge of distributing marijuana after police caught him taking 273 pounds of the drug, according to a criminal complaint.

Jose Leyva, 34, pleaded not guilty to the charge after he was arrested April 2. The case was unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

According to the complaint, a Missouri State Police officer pulled over a car driven by Jose Gamboa on April 1 and got suspicious when Gamboa tried to explain where he was going. A police dog alerted that there were drugs in the car, and the officer ended up finding 23 boxes with about 273 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of the car.

Upon questioning, Gamboa told police he had been hired by a man from Texas and a man from Mexico to transport 1,500 pounds of pot to the Chicago area, according to the complaint. He told police he was taking this batch of pot to Hammond where he would meet a man called Primo, who would pay him for the drugs.

The police reached an agreement with Gamboa that he would continue with the delivery as police watched and continued driving to Northwest Indiana, according to the complaint. When he got to the area, he went to the Super 8 Motel on Calumet Avenue in Hammond and called Primo. Two men, later identified as Huberto Andrade and Leyva, showed up in a black Cadillac, which Gamboa got into. Leyva told Gamboa they would count the marijuana and then pay for it, while Gamboa went into a nearby restaurant to wait, according to the complaint.

Meanwhile, Leyva got into Gamboa's car and tried to drive off when officers with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force arrested him and Andrade, according to the complaint.

Leyva was freed on a $30,000 bond and pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the charge. A trial has been scheduled for June 28.u.s. district court, hammond

NEWS: (National) Boy, 5, beaten to death: 'Worst thing I've ever seen'

From Chicago Sun-Times

April 30, 2010

The fatal beating of a 5-year-old Gary boy left veteran investigators shaken after they saw deep, dark scars from the back of his head to his knees.

Leon Walker's injuries were inflicted by someone who beat him repeatedly over time, police said.

"It's the worst thing I've ever seen," Gary Police Cmdr. Thomas Decanter Jr. said Thursday.

Investigators are now trying to figure out who did it. The boy's mother was questioned and released.

His father was in custody Thursday night, being questioned. According to a police report, the father told them the boy had complained of a stomachache and told him, "I think I got a boo boo." The father told police he left the room to get Leon something to eat from the kitchen, and then returned to find him unconscious on the ground.

But investigators say they found items at the home that suggest the boy was restrained while he was struck with an object, perhaps a belt.

Leon was to turn 6 on Monday.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tonight on Duke's Blotter Live @ 9pm

Join a discussion on how recent events in Melrose Park as well as issues in other local communities make our pension situation worse. Also, discuss what some communities are trying to do to us in their quest for pension reform.

R.I.P.: Officer Rodney Holder

Abilene Police Department

End of Watch: Thursday, April 29, 2010
Cause: Motorcycle accident

Biographical Info
Age: 50
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available

Officer Rodney Holder was killed in a motorcycle accident at the intersection of Sayles Boulevard and South 13th Street while attempting to stop a speeder.

Another vehicle collided with his motorcycle in the intersection as he attempted to the stop the speeder on Sayles Boulevard.

Officer Holder is survived by his wife, daughter, and son.

Photograph: Officer Rodney Holder

Patch image: Abilene  Police Department, Texas

NEWS: (National) FWPD Officer Charged With Possessing Marijuana

From CBS11 Fort Worth

By Sana Syed

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 / TXA 21) ―

A Fort Worth police officer has been arrested and charged with possessing marijuana, tampering with evidence and is accused of also smoking marijuana while on duty and in uniform.

Chief Jeff Halstead announced the arrest at a news conference Wednesday morning. "As soon as I heard this information, as you can imagine, I was disgusted and I was furious," Halstead told CBS 11 News.

Wesley Lamb, 34, was arrested Wednesday morning following a tip from a Fort Worth resident that claimed the officer was seen smoking pot in a vehicle.

The accusation triggered an investigation by Chief Halstead's special investigation unit - which he created a year ago to tackle officers who break the law. "The more investigations that come to my desk the more resources I will deploy, because I will never ever tolerate that kind of behavior," the Chief said.

The investigation unit set up an undercover sting. An arrest warrant affidavit states that on Tuesday, April 27, Officer Lamb responded to a call from a Fort Worth citizen who found 86-grams of pot and wanted to turn in. But the "concerned citizen" was actually an undercover cop and the marijuana was from the FWPD property room.

The according affidavit goes on to explain that Lamb took possession of the marijuana, from an undercover police officer, went to his home and stayed inside for approximately 10 minutes.

The report says Lamb was observed throughout his shift and at no time made a police report on the confiscated pot and never went to the property room.

After Lamb's shifted ended he allegedly moved his personal belongings, and the pot, into his personal vehicle. He was arrested before leaving police station property.

Lamb is accused of possessing marijuana and tampering with evidence and after his arrest reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana while on duty.

Chief Halstead announced the arrest to a group of new police recruits Wednesday morning. He made it clear that such behavior wouldn't be tolerated. Halstead also told the rookies that he has created a special team of investigators to look into criminal mischief in the department.

Wednesday afternoon Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief issued a statement that said, in part, "Those wearing the badge who choose to violate their oath or ignore the laws they are sworn to uphold will be revealed. They will not be the exception to the rules when they are the ones who are expected to set the example for the rest of us."

This is not the first time recently that a Fort Worth officer has been in trouble. Officer Michael Buchanan is accused of crashing his pickup into a house while drunk last week.

Late last year, Sonia Baker, a 27-year-old mother of two, was killed when FWPD Officer Jesus Cisneros allegedly crashed into her vehicle. Cisneros is accused of driving drunk in an unauthorized, unmarked patrol car.

The police investigation into Lamb's actions continue and there may be more charges filed.

Chief Halstead says there is a lack of supervision in his department, so over the next three-to-six months he will double the number of sergeants and lieutenants in the patrol division so he knows what his officers are doing.

"To those very, very select few... I will find you and I will fire you," the Chief warned.

NEWS: (Chicago Outfit) Fortress-like mob house searched

From Chicago Sun-Times

April 29, 2010


FBI agents on Wednesday searched the house once owned by feared mob leader Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra, a fortress-like home in Bridgeport that had been a recent target of burglars who believed it might hold a fortune.

It's the second time in two months agents have searched a top mobster's home. Last month, FBI agents scoured the Oak Brook home of mob killer Frank Calabrese Sr., where they found more than $1 million in jewelry and cash, most of it hidden in a secret compartment behind a family portrait.

The riches found in the Calabrese home may have prompted mob burglars Joseph "Jerry" "The Monk" Scalise and Arthur "The Genius" Rachel, along with their colleague Robert Pullia, to allegedly target LaPietra's home last month, court records show. A listening device planted in Scalise's van by FBI agents recorded him talking about the raid on the Calabrese home, and all three men were arrested as they were allegedly casing the home.

Scalise recently was a consultant to Hollywood director Michael Mann and his movie "Public Enemies," which was filmed in Chicago. Scalise and Rachel previously made headlines when they were arrested in 1980 after stealing the 45-carat Marlborough Diamond from a London jewelry store. The diamond was never recovered, and its fate has been the subject of much speculation in the ensuing decades.

Wednesday's search of the LaPietra home near 30th and Princeton was consensual. LaPietra's daughter still lives in the home and has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice characterized the FBI action as a follow-up to its investigation of Scalise, Rachel and Pullia. Agents left the home Wednesday with a few bags of evidence, and authorities declined to say what they took.

Attorneys for Scalise, Rachel and Pullia are battling in court to have their clients released on bond, which federal prosecutors T. Markus Funk and Amarjeet S. Bhachu are vigorously opposing.

The U.S. attorney's office had no comment on the search Wednesday.

LaPietra, who died in 1999, had a reputation for being among the most feared gangsters of his generation. He could literally make men quake with fear, such was his reputation for violence and brutality. He was convicted in 1986 of skimming millions of dollars from Las Vegas casinos.

LaPietra was also a founder of the Old Neighborhood Italian-American Club near his home.

NEWS: (Illinois) Lawmakers approve gun measure Daley pushed

From Chicago Tribune (Clout Street)

Posted by John Byrne at 4:53 p.m.

The Illinois Senate today sent Gov. Pat Quinn a bill backed by Mayor Richard Daley that would increase penalties for certain crimes involving guns.

The proposed change in state law would mandate a sentence of at least one year in prison for a person convicted of unlawful use of a weapon if the gun is loaded and the offender doesn't have a valid firearm owner's identification card. Currently in such cases, the offender could receive a lesser sentence of probation.

“This bill protects the rights of law abiding citizens, but also gives us another tool to combat violence in our neighborhoods and protect our children,” Daley said in a news release. “I encourage the governor to sign it.”

The legislation is similar to one Quinn signed in December that applied to gang members.

The measure was one of several gun control proposals Daley pushed last month as part of an annual effort at the statehouse. Most of the proposals, including an assault weapons ban, are unlikely to become law.

The Senate action came just hours after Daley, in a Chicago, made a final pitch for his legislative agenda before lawmakers are scheduled to leave Springfield.
Property tax relief and a proposal to make banks responsible for maintaining their foreclosed properties in Chicago are other top Daley priorities.

"I understand the General Assembly has a lot on its agenda -- starting with dealing with the budget issues," Daley said at a news conference on the Southeast Side. "But also you have to act on key legislation that we believe is important to the people of our city."

Daley wants the General Assembly to bring back a property tax exemption designed to limit the annual increase in a home's value for tax purposes in Cook County. The law is set to expire before tax bills hit the mail this fall. But an extension of the tax break seems unlikely, as Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan has not been on board.

Police Blotters April 29, 2010

Click on the town your interested in. If you would like a town added just let me know.

}}Franklin Park, Northlake{{

}}Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood, Melrose Park{{


}}Elmwood Park, River Grove{{

}}Forest Park{{


}}Harwood Heights, Norridge{{

}}Oak Park{{

}}Park Ridge{{


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rasic v. City of Northlake et al - Update

Trial began on Monday April 26, 2010 with jury selection.

Actual trial began on Tuesday April 27, 2010.

Will keep you posted.

Here is the original COMPLAINT

Here is the final pretrial ORDER (includes witness lists).

R.I.P.: Deputy Sheriff Ian Michael Deutch

Deputy Sheriff Ian Michael Deutch
Nye County Sheriff's Office

End of Watch
: Monday, April 26, 2010
: Gunfire

Biographical Info

: 27
Tour of Duty
: Not available
Badge Number
: Not available

Deputy Ian Deutch was shot and killed as he and another deputy responded to a shooting call at a casino in Pahrump, Nevada.

A woman had called 911 and then fled to the casino during a domestic disturbance in which a man had fired a rifle at her. As Deputy Deutch and his partner exited their vehicle the man, who had followed her to the casino, opened fire on them with an SKS rifle.

Deputy Deutch was struck three times in the abdomen, with the rounds penetrating his vest. A third responding deputy returned fire and killed the suspect.

Deputy Deutch was a member of the Nevada Army National Guard and was on his second day back on duty after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan.

Photograph: Deputy Sheriff Ian Michael Deutch

Patch image: Nye County  Sheriff's Office, Nevada

R.I.P.: Deputy Sheriff Kory Dahlvig

Deputy Sheriff Kory Dahlvig
Vilas County Sheriff's Department

End of Watch
: Monday, April 26, 2010
: Vehicular assault

Biographical Info
Age: 29
Tour of Duty: 5 years, 10 months
Badge Number: Not available

Deputy Kory Dahlvig was killed in an automobile crash while responding to a mutual aid call from the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Police Department.

As he responded on Highway 47, the driver of a dump truck parked on the side of the road entered the roadway, causing Deputy Dahlvig to strike the back of it.

The dump truck's driver was arrested and charged with vehicular murder.

Deputy Dahlvig had served with the Vilas County Sheriff's Department for two years and previously served with the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Police Department for three and a half years.

Photograph: Deputy Sheriff Kory Dahlvig

Patch image: Vilas  County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin

UNION: What's happening in Illinois

Updates from the F.O.P.

Jefferson County deputies and dispatchers have won an arbitration resulting in a three-year agreement increasing deputy salaries by 4 per cent in each year of the contract, retroactive to December 1, 2008. Dispatchers receive 3 per cent for each of the three years. The County had argued for a one-year agreement which have already expired. Arbitrator Brian Reynolds sent the parties back to the table and granted the FOP Labor Council proposal. Your Labor Council successfully resisted the County's attempt to lay off unit members for any reason without appeal. Once again, Arbitrator Reynolds ruled in our favor, maintaining the status quo, permitting layoffs only when there is an inability to pay. But the Arbitrator did not grant deputies their attempt to gain the right to bid for shifts by seniority. John Kemp led the FOP bargaining team, along with Curt Anselment, Jim Marler, Pat Scheppel, and Scotty Smith. Field Rep Bill Mehrtens assisted the local committee at the table. Staff Attorney Rick Stewart presented the FOP case, assisted by Field Supervisor Becky Dragoo.

City of Harrisburg Police have a new two-year contract calling for a 55 cent across-the-board pay boost in each year and a longevity system with steps increased from 7.7 cents per hour per year of service to 10 cents per yearly step retroactive to May of 2009, and 12 cents per hour per year of service effective May of 2010. Longevity steps have been added for years 21 through 24, and years 26 through 30. Employee birthdays will be recognized with a normal shift pay of 12 hours vs. 8 hours, and Police Memorial Day has been added as a paid holiday for unit members. The successor agreement was reached during mediation. Negotiations were complicated by the death of the Harrisburg Police Commissioner and the illness of the city's chief negotiator. Our negotiating team of David Morris, Todd Cavender, and Michael Riden was chaired by Nathan Moore and assisted by Field Rep Bill Mehrtens.

City of McHenry police have settled on a three-year agreement retroactive to May 1, 2009, providing salary hikes of 2.25 per cent in each contract year. Discipline and grievance cases now fall under an arbitration process with authority of the Police and Fire Commission being limited to probationary employees. Branch 1 court appearances will be paid as three hours of overtime. Compensatory time carryover will now be 17 hours or two full days and can be taken in no less than half-day increments. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are now listed as priority holidays to be paid as overtime.

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale Sergeants are working under a new two-year agreement retroactive to July 1, 2009, providing a salary increase of 4.5 per cent for the first year and a salary reopener for 2010-2011. The University acknowledged that the SIU-C sergeants' earnings were behind their peers, and granted an additional 1.5 per cent equity adjustment to the standard 3 per cent University raise for 2009-2010. The contract includes language previously adopted by the Patrolman/Corporal bargaining unit, including expunging reprimands after 18 months, updated language for Injury Leave and Military Leave, and minor language changes in Vacation, Training and Replacement of Damaged Equipment. There were delays created by the lack of state funding to universities, but negotiations remained cordial. Dave Stewart, John Allen, and Kendall Hollister acted as a three-member “committee of the whole” and were assisted by Field Rep Bill Mehrtens.

Blue Island patrol avoided the threat of five layoffs by giving up five paid days and made concessions on insurance. After ongoing bargaining, our unit was able to reinstate a uniform allowance and some health insurance sweeteners to the original city offer.

Fox Lake sergeants have been added to our bargaining unit and talks are ongoing for the combined sergeants and patrol unit. The Village failed in its challenge to the right of the sergeants to organize.

Forest View patrol have avoided layoffs after giving up 10 per cent wage increases for the first four months of this year. However, they will return to the wage schedule on May 1.

Sugar Grove sergeants are going to arbitration on their first contract.

Lagrange Park unilaterally implemented a physical fitness program after they had withdrawn it from bargaining. The case will go to hearing before the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

Itasca patrol has entered arbitration.

The Cook County Forest Preserve has lost every appeal on reinstatements to grievance arbitration on four terminated officers, and it appears two more officers are about to win reinstatements as well. We have sued to enforce the reinstatement awards.

Updates from The Teamster

South Chicago Heights Sergeants Celebrate New Contract
Defying a national trend of public sector sacrifice and layoffs, Local 700 has
successfully negotiated the first contract for South Chicago Heights Police Sergeants. Representatives made it a top priority to resume stalled negotiations and forge an agreement that will protect the officers on the job and reward them for the daily performance of their critical tasks. The contract requires a nearly 16 percent wage increase to take immediate effect, while including back pay for all officers for three years and a forthcoming four percent wage increase.

Teamsters Prevail Through Arbitration in Cook County
Two arbitration victories for Local 700 are sending a strong message to employers—the Teamsters protect its members.

Union officials continue to uphold strong contracts by defending members during grievance processes. At the Cook County Correctional Facility, the union successfully removed a 29-day suspension for a corrections officer, who subsequently received full back pay and benefits for the length of his absence. The arbitrator ultimately ruled the supervisor failed to provide evidence to justify such discipline.

The Teamsters also fought to reinstate a counselor wrongfully terminated from the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. The counselor has received full seniority, back pay and benefits.

Updates from M.A.P.

Settled three-year contract. 2%, 3%, and
last year, 2%. First six months, 2 % and
second 6 months, increase for off-duty
court time to 2.5 hours at the overtime
Increase in village contribution to RHS
plan, effective December 1, 2010 from
$750 to $1100.

Crystal Lake MAP #177
Three-year agreement. Wages; 2.5%
increase each year. New FTO stipend.
Increase in vacation accrual at 15,20 and
25 years.
New double time and one-half pay if
working five specific holidays

Lemont MAP #39
Three-year contract, 2009 2% increase;
retroactive pay from August 1, 2009;
wage re-opener in 2010.
The officers now have the option of
having the propriety of their discipline
determined by a neutral arbitrator.
Two additional holidays were added
(i.e. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday,
and Veteran’s Day). Officers with
less than 8 years of seniority earned 2
percent (2009-2010), 2 percent (2010-
2011), and 5 percent (2011-2012). Officers
with 8 or more years of seniority
earned 2 percent (2009-2010), 4 percent
(2010-2011), and 5 percent (2011-2012).
Uniform reimbursement was increased
from $800 to $900 over the life of the
contract. Officers sick and comp. time
banks were also increased from 1504 to
2080 and 168 to 180 respectively. The
stipend for serving as a detective was
increased from $1,000 to $1,500. This
contract also created a stipend for
FTOs who will receive an extra hour
of overtime for each shift of service as
an FTO. As a cost saving measure, the
Village now offers officers who receive
healthcare insurance from an alternate
source (e.g. a spouse’s employer) $1,500
per annum. Members also achieved
favorable language improvements to
several other non-economic contract
provisions (including use of sick time,
funeral leave, etc.).
Longevity pay, Specialty pay – FTO;
OIC; Canine Officer
Vacation pay, up to five weeks, nine
holidays, 24 hours for personal days.
Court time, minimum three hours. Call
out pay, minimum two hours. Compensatory
time – up to 80 hours
Sick leave – 96 hours. Bereavement
leave and Jury leave – up to three
scheduled work days. Education Reimbursement
Uniform Allowance
Discipline: Suspensions = fire and police
Termination = arbitration

Pay scale at 2.75-2.25-2.5. Improvements
on sick time, holiday, vacation,
comp time, scheduling rights all hours
compensated = hours works for overtime
calculation, except for sick within
48 hours of the overtime (this was a
substantial change). Added grievance
for discipline and numerous other benefits.
Top pay at $80k after six years for current employees, eight years for new

NEWS: (Illinois) 'Sexting' bill, lt. governor changes go to Quinn

From Chicago Tribune

April 27, 2010 7:41 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Teens who forward or post online racy pictures of their underage classmates would get juvenile court supervision that could result in mandatory counseling or community service under legislation sent to Gov. Pat Quinn today.

Separately, changes to the election rules for lieutenant governor were sent to his desk.

The first measure aims to educate teens about the dangers of "sexting" while modernizing state statutes for the Internet age. Under current Illinois law, teens caught with nude photos of other juveniles can be charged as sex offenders, lawmakers said.

"As the Internet explodes and people are taking advantage of it, these images hang around forever," said Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago. "Once they're disseminated, they can ruin somebody's career."

The sexting phenomenon surfaced in the suburbs in December when Plainfield police launched an investigation after a 16-year-old honors student at Plainfield East High School sent a nude photo of herself to a classmate, who forwarded it to several friends.

A January case in Valparaiso, Ind., was opened when a teacher discovered a phone in which a 12-year-old boy had sent a nude picture to a 13-year-old girl, according to police.

The Illinois bill, which passed 52-0, doesn't penalize youths who send or receive the risque photos but choose not to distribute them widely. It applies to kids under 18 who use computers or cell phones to distribute the pictures, and the court supervision amounts to a scolding.

Silverstein left open the option of crafting more severe penalties for sexting.

"If it continues, we might have to take harsher steps," he said.

Quinn spokesman Bob Reed said the governor wants to review the bill before committing to sign it.

In other action, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would run as a team in primary elections under a measure the Senate also sent to Quinn 56-0.

The move follows Scott Lee Cohen's primary victory--and quick resignation--of the Democratic lieutenant governor nomination. Cohen was supposed to be Quinn's running mate, but now is exploring an independent run for governor.

--Michelle Manchir

NEWS: (Chicago) Fury over cop DUI case

From Chicago Sun-Times

Related Story }}HERE{{

'07 CRASH | Officer filmed drinking before fatal accident, but judge throws out evidence

April 28, 2010

BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporter

A Chicago cop filmed drinking at least five shots of liquor minutes before he crashed his SUV, killing two young men, could walk free after a Cook County judge ruled that key evidence against him was illegally seized.

In a ruling greeted with fury and anguish by the families of victims Miguel Flores, 22, and Erick Lagunas, 21, Judge Thomas Gainer Jr. found there was "no conspiracy" among Officer John Ardelean's fellow officers to protect him.

It prompted ugly scenes and arrests outside his courtroom as the families clashed with Cook County sheriff's deputies. And it may have fatally damaged the case against 35-year-old Ardelean, who's charged with four counts of aggravated DUI and two counts of reckless homicide in the Thanksgiving Day 2007 deaths.

Video footage from the Martini Ranch Bar showed the officer downing shots just minutes before the crash between Ardelean's SUV and a sedan carrying Flores and Lagunas at the intersection of Damen and Wellington in Roscoe Village.

But Ardelean's attorney, Tom Needham, challenged his arrest because two fellow officers and a sergeant from the Belmont district station where he works and a paramedic said he didn't appear intoxicated at the accident scene.

Prosecutors implied that the officers turned a blind eye.

Ardelean wasn't arrested or given a Breathalyzer test until seven hours after the crash, when the officers' supervisor, Lt. John Magruder, said he noticed Ardelean had bloodshot eyes, smelled of booze and "was walking kind of funny with a limp or something.''

Based on the 0.032 blood alcohol level Ardelean recorded, an expert prosecution witness was due to testify that the officer would have been nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 at the time of the crash.

But Gainer ruled Magruder did not have probable cause to arrest Ardelean, meaning the Breathalyzer results and expert testimony can't be used.

Describing Magruder as an "incredible" witness who'd given a "rambling" account of Ardelean's arrest and improperly discussed the likely media reaction to the case, telling a prosecutor that "we're damned if we do and damned if we don't," the judge wrote that "this court does not believe Lt. McGruder's testimony."

There was too little time and too many witnesses for a police conspiracy to protect Ardelean to have "gelled," he wrote.

Gainer also acquitted three Chicago cops accused of attacking a group of businessmen in the Jefferson Tap bar beating case last year.

Prosecutors are reviewing the judge's ruling in the Ardelean case and will decide whether to continue by the next hearing on May 25, Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Jim Byrne said.

But victims' relatives fear a conviction may now be impossible

As tempers flared Tuesday, Flores' mother, Blanca Villanueva, and sisters Nancy and Blanca Flores were arrested after they scuffled with deputies outside the courtroom.

Shouting "Murderer!" and "You should arrest him, not us!" at a shaven-headed Ardelean as they left the court, a group of 20 friends and relatives were asked to calm down by the deputies.

When Blanca Flores shouted "I'm going to f--- that bitch up!" as she walked away, the deputies chased and tackled her. Her sister and mother also were tackled and arrested when they tried to intervene.

Blanca Flores said she lost her temper after a deputy told her she was setting a bad example for her 3-year-old son.

"We needed space, but they got in our faces and were disrespectful," she said.

Though a deputy suffered a broken finger in the scuffle, another was bitten and Flores' mother was checked out for a minor head injury in a hospital, all three women were later released.

"It was an emotional situation, and lines were indeed crossed," Sheriff's spokesman Steve Patterson said, adding that charges against the women will not be sought.

Nursing a black eye later Tuesday afternoon, Nancy Flores fought back tears as she described the long road victims families have traveled, first to get Ardelean's charges upgraded to felonies, then to make the charges stick.

Both families still are pursuing a civil case against Ardelean but believe the criminal case will likely be dropped, she said.

"It's very hard to accept that this is almost over," she said. "It's been two long years trying to get justice for my brother."

Lagunas' brother Jose Lagunas, a teacher from Cicero, said he still believes "The witnesses were all lying because [Ardelean is] an officer."

Pointing out that the video showed Ardelean drinking just before the crash, he said, "I understand there are rules of evidence, but what else am I supposed to think?"

Other relatives hugged each other and sobbed as they left the courthouse.

"The decision today is an outrage.," Lagunas' cousin, Mayra Lagunas, said.

UNION: PARK RIDGE POLICE: Union votes down concessions, six police employees out of work

From Pioneer Press

April 27, 2010


Friday will be the last day of work for six members of the Park Ridge Police Department as union memberships turned down final proposals for concessions.

City Manager Jim Hock said April 27 that police officers voted down a proposal that would have saved two of the four police officers facing lay-offs on April 30. The local Illinois Council of Police (ICOPS) union, which represents 36 city employees, also failed to approve concessions that would have saved two community service officers from the police department and three additional city workers, Hock said.

The failed offer that went before the rank and file police officers included a pay freeze for the 2010-11 fiscal year instead of a 4 percent pay increase; foregoing a uniform allowance of approximately $750 per officer; and putting overtime into a compensatory time bank.

A budget approved by the Park Ridge City Council on April 19 included the elimination of $283,768 in funding for the police department, an amount the union was being asked to save in order to keep the four police officers employed. Union President John Dorner had asked the council to "meet us somewhere in the middle," but no additional funds were added to the police department budget by the council. Members of the public also urged the City Council to maintain positions within public safety.

The loss of the four officers will mean the elimination of the department's traffic enforcement unit.

Members of the local ICOPS union, meanwhile, voted down concessions that in addition to two community service officers would have saved a code enforcement officer in the Department of Community Development and Preservation, an administrative assistant from the Public Works Department and a Finance Department clerk, Hock said.

Community Service Officer John Sliwinski, president of the local ICOPS union, said all union employees were being asked to take 21 unpaid days, which included unpaid vacations and holidays.

The only bright spot in employee labor talks comes from the fire department where two employee lay-offs combined with cost concessions will allow three firefighter/paramedics to keep their jobs.

Hock said union members approved an agreement that includes a one-year pay freeze, seven unpaid holidays and loss of a $500 engineering bonus for employees who qualify. The department's battalion chief Bill Pretzer and a firefighter have agreed to take an early retirement incentive, Hock said.

Retaining the three employees will keep the fire department's 95-foot ladder truck in service and maintain a staffing level of 15 personnel per shift, Hock said.

Hock called the loss of police officers and other staff "unfortunate," but added that the decision ultimately fell to the union members.

"The council adopted the budget with these positions cut, so they were given the task to find ways to save the positions," Hock said. "In some ways it wasn't enough."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NEWS: (Chicago) Judge throws out arrest of cop accused in fatal DUI crash

From Chicago Tribune

A Cook County judge today ruled that a Chicago police officer accused of drunk driving in a fatal crash on Thanksgiving 2007 was arrested and detained without probable cause.

Judge Thomas V. Gainer Jr. also called the police lieutenant who ordered Officer John Ardelean's arrest not a credible witness.

"Probable cause to arrest in this case comes down to the credibility of Lt. (John) Magruder and this court does not believe Lt. Magruder's testimony," Gainer wrote in his opinion.

Gainer also wrote he had found "no conspiracy to protect this defendant by rogue officers acting without regard to their oath ..."

The ruling in effect guts the prosecution's case against Ardelean, who was accused of driving drunk when his vehicle struck a sedan with Miguel Flores, 22, and Eric Lagunas, 21, inside it, killing them. Prosecutors had no immediate comment.

Ardelean, 36, was indicted in September 2008 on charges of reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in their deaths.

Prosecutors said after that that their case was hampered by the fact that Ardelean was not administered a Breathalyzer test until about seven hours after the crash. He tested at 0.032, well below the legal threshold for DUI of 0.08. He was not administered a field sobriety test at the crash scene.

After Gainer's decision was read in court today, three outraged members of Flores' family shouted at court personnel and Ardelean and were taken into custody.

The ruling comes more than a month after three other Chicago police officers testified they found no evidence that Ardelean was driving drunk when he struck and killed the two men.

But Magruder, who supervised those officers, said that when he saw Ardelean hours later at the Belmont District police station, he noticed Ardelean's eyes were bloodshot and that he smelled of alcohol. This was the testimony that Gainer said he did not believe. He characterized Magruder's statements as "ramblings."

The case has had a long and controversial history. Ardelean was initially charged with misdemeanor DUI, but after family members urged a review of the case, the charge was upgraded to a felony.

The judge's decision Tuesday could jeopardize the prosecution's case, family members said after the hearing.

Following Gainer's ruling, members of Flores' family were shouting in anger outside the courtroom. This prompted a female court deputy to quiet them and ask them to leave the area, saying that they could be arrested if they did not quiet down.

According to an e-mail release from the Cook County sheriff's office, one relative stepped forward and threatened the female deputy. Other deputies then intervened and the threats made by the relative of Flores became more aggressive, prompting other family members nearby to restrain the relative, according to the release.

Court deputies attempted to detain the relative and as they did, two more of Flores' relatives began attacking the deputies, accroding to the release. All three relatives were then detained and taken to a holding cell in the courthouse.

Two deputies were treated at a hospital for injuries. One has what appears to be a broken finger, along with what appeared to be fingernail scratches down her side. The other deputy appears to have bite marks on her collarbone and neck area.

"Our office has reviewed the case and declined to press charges against the family of the victims in this case," said sheriff's office spokesman Steve Patterson in the e-mail. "It was an emotional situation and lines were indeed crossed, but given the circumstances, we plan to release the three women without asking that charges be filed against them.

"It is our hope and expectation that these kinds of incidents don't happen in future court hearings on this case."

-- Daarel Burnette II

PENSION: Pension argument pits 'haves' and 'have nots'

From Daily Herald

Madge and Jim Pierce spent years scrimping and pumping nearly 40 percent of their income into a 401(k), only to see their funds take a big hit that nearly derailed their 2008 retirement.

"If you don't get some kind of pension, you're really on your own," said Jim Pierce of Grayslake.

But Shirley Forpe didn't have to worry so much about the latest economic downturn. A retired public school art teacher from Palatine, she is guaranteed a pension of $81,600 a year.

To make anywhere near the same amount from a 401(k), she figures she would need $2 million in savings.

"I don't think I'm suffering, but I think I earned it," Forpe said.

The difference in financial security between those with public pensions and those without has become glaringly visible during the ongoing recession, so much so that some in the "have not" camp are wondering why their tax dollars are going toward someone else's pension while their own retirements are insecure.

The question has become more insistent as Illinois racks up a staggering $78 billion pension liability - $6,050 for every person in the state - resulting from years of state leaders shirking pension obligations and diverting funds for other needs.

Meanwhile, pensions topped $150,000 last year for 131 retired public school administrators from the suburbs and downstate, though many retired educators get much less.

The debate over pensions for school teachers and administrators is particularly contentious in the suburbs, where salaries that often are among the highest in the state drive pensions up.

Many school board members and superintendents say salaries, and the resulting pensions, are the way they attract top educators to suburban schools.

"When you're asked to meet the kind of academic standards our communities want us to meet, you have to have the people on staff to make that happen," said Bill Dussling, president of the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 school board.

Meanwhile, some are calling for an end to public pensions altogether, advocating replacing them with the same Social Security-plus-401(k) that many private-sector workers must rely upon.

"It comes down to: Why should public employees be considered special?" said Bill Zettler, a Prospect Heights computer programmer. "Everyone's hurting because of the economy, but now we're all being asked to give money toward state employees' retirements. It's simply not fair."

Yet making such a change is not so simple.

Public pay rises

Guaranteed pensions used to be the trade-off for lower annual salaries in the public sector, like the $7,000 Forpe made during her first year as a teacher.

But in relatively affluent areas like suburban Chicago, government workers now make as much as - if not more than - their private-sector counterparts.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in fall 2008 that the average hourly wage for all private-sector workers in the Chicago metropolitan area was $22.36. The average hourly wage for government workers was $30.51.

Statewide, salaries for all teachers average $61,402; administrators average $106,217. Nearly two-thirds of schools in the North, Northwest and West suburbs exceed the state average, an analysis of 2009 district report card data shows, topped by Maine Township High School District 207, paying teachers an average of $94,205 and administrators an average of $139,671; Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 at $92,811 and $123,414; and Fenton High School District 100 at $92,373 and $131,638.

As a result of such salaries, pension amounts given to public-sector retirees from the suburbs tend to be much higher than statewide averages.

Consider the Teachers' Retirement System, the state's largest pension program and the one that covers public school teachers and administrators who work outside the city of Chicago. More than half of the state's unfunded pension liability ­- about $44 billion - is promised to this group.

In 2009, the average pension benefit for a TRS retiree was about $43,000 a year, calculated as up to 75 percent of the average of the four highest paid years of work. But retired school administrators from the suburbs can receive four or five times that much.

In 2009, Gary Catalani, former superintendent of Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, received the biggest pension payout in the suburbs covered by the Daily Herald, according to TRS. He got a pension of $237,195 a year. Henry Gmitro, the former superintendent of Carol Stream Elementary District 93, received $234,803 a year.

These pensions are guaranteed for life, and they increase each year by a 3 percent cost-of-living raise.

"You've got some educators ... being paid millions of dollars in retirement," Zettler said. "That's nuts."

TRS officials point out that those kinds of payouts are rare. Less than 2 percent of TRS retirees statewide made $100,000 or more in pensions in 2009, TRS officials said. More than 60 percent - or about 53,000 retirees - collected less than $50,000 for the year.

Time for 401(k)?

Yet that sounds generous to many private-sector employees whose guaranteed retirement income is limited to Social Security, supplemented with 401(k) funds that may include employer contributions and other investments that fluctuate with the financial markets.

The Pierces have a Social Security income of about $33,600 for the two of them.

Both employed in jobs that did not provide pensions, they spent seven years socking away nearly 40 percent of their income - Madge deposited her entire paycheck into her 401(k) at the time - and cut back drastically on their spending to prepare for retirement.

Then the recession hit. The downturn in the stock market wiped out between 30 percent and 40 percent of their 401(k) accounts, the main source of their retirement funds.

"Overall, we've done OK, but it was nerve-racking for awhile there," said Jim Pierce, who spent the past 30 years working for a private mail processing company.

In Illinois' pension funds, the state took the hit when investments headed south, driving the pension debt even deeper.

That's one reason pension critics like Zettler, and like Jim Tobin of the group National Taxpayers United, said school teachers and administrators should be converted to Social Security and 401(k)s for financing retirement, a change that many experts say could be made only for new employees.

"We're all in this together," Zettler said. "Public employees should share in the economic risk."

Others, though, question whether getting rid of guaranteed public pensions would produce savings for taxpayers.

For one thing, school districts would likely have to start paying a 6.2 percent payroll tax for all the teachers and administrators who would be covered by Social Security, a cost that would almost certainly be passed on to local property owners. Under Social Security, workers also pay 6.2 percent.

At the same time, the state's existing $78 billion pension debt would still have to be paid.

Members of TRS, who do not contribute to Social Security while working for public schools, send 9.4 percent of their pay toward retirement benefits. Other contributions come from school districts (0.58 percent), the state (amount determined by actuary) and investment earnings.

A 2007 study conducted by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a bipartisan, not-for-profit organization that studies public spending in Illinois, concluded that scrapping pensions and moving public employees to a "defined contribution system" for retirement - a 401(k) plan, for example - would cost state taxpayers more in the long term. The study was conducted as part of the center's Illinois Retirement Security Initiative project.

Defined contribution plans have much higher administrative costs, the study found, to the tune of $275 million to $610 million more per year. At the same time, such plans provide lower benefits for retirees.

The study cites the case of Nebraska, which in the mid-1960s switched state and county employees from guaranteed pensions to a defined contribution system. By 1999, the state discovered that its expenses related to administering and funding the defined contribution system were double what they would have been with the old pension system. The average retirement benefit for public employees, meanwhile, was $11,230 under the new system, compared to $16,797 under the pension plan. The state decided to go back to the pension system.

But because administrative costs are a small percentage of overall costs, the bigger question is how much the benefits cost.

By that measure, Illinois Teachers Retirement System spokesman Dave Urbanek said, it's impossible to compare without assuming how much the employer and employees would contribute, which would be up to lawmakers.

Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, said the idea of switching deserves another look. He pointed out 401(k)-style retirement plans wouldn't be so popular in private industry if they didn't save money. And they'd end the legislature's ability to run up a multi-billion-dollar pension debt.

"The defined contribution plans eliminate the shenanigans and underfunding that occurs. It's much more transparent," Msall said.

So far, Illinois' attempts to fix the pension system have been much less drastic. On April 14, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law provisions meant to limit pension payments for teachers and most other public employees. The changes, which include an increase in the retirement age, a cap on the amount of income that counts toward a pension and new limits on annual pension increases, are expected to save taxpayers more than $100 billion during the next 35 years, But the changes affect only those who aren't yet hired - and who mostly won't be retiring for decades.

Melba Hanssen, an Itasca resident who worked in public and parochial schools for 35 years in Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect, said she hopes guaranteed public pensions remain, though she recognizes the security her pension gives her compared to people with 401(k)s.

"I have a lot of sympathy for people without pensions, but you don't correct something by tearing down something good," she said.

• Daily Herald staff writer Robert McCoppin contributed to this report.

NEWS: Suit: Camera captures Rosemont police attacking Park Ridge man

From Pioneer Press

April 27, 2010

A Park Ridge man who claims he was Tasered and attacked by officers at the Rosemont Police Station filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the village and the officers, claiming at least part of the attack was captured on camera.

Andrew Krieger of Park Ridge claims Rosemont police used the stun device and battered him about 6:20 a.m. on April 26, 2009, at the Rosemont Police Station, according to a suit filed in U.S. District Court.

The suit claims Krieger, 21, was sitting in the passenger seat of his brother's car in the parking lot of the police department while his brother was inside posting bail for a friend.

Rosemont police officer Ronald A. Perri approached, attempted to open the locked car and demanded Krieger exit the vehicle, according to the suit. Krieger opened the door, but remained in the car and asked why he was telling him to exit.

The suit said Perri attempted to physically pull Krieger out of the car and called for assistance. Krieger exited the car and Officer Fiorito, as identified in the suit, deployed a Taser into Krieger's chest as he stood next to the car with his hands in the air, according to the suit.

Krieger was treated by paramedics in the station then sat handcuffed to a bench, according to the suit. When additional officers learned he was being held for battery to an officer, an unidentified officer approached and jammed his forearm into Krieger's throat — choking and lifting him up against the wall — as he was handcuffed to the bench, the suit said.

“This may not be the most brutal use of force ever but it's clearly one of the most unnecessary uses of force,” Christopher Smith, one of Krieger's attorneys, said in a statement. “It is a criminal battery for anyone to attack a young man, sitting handcuffed on a bench, especially an armed police officer.”

Krieger was charged with resisting a peace officer and battery, but all charges were dropped, according to the suit, which claims the officers intentionally inflicted physical and emotional pain.

A roving surveillance camera captured portions of the events inside and outside the station, the suit claims.

The eight-count suit claims, among other things, excessive force, assault, battery and false arrest. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the village of Rosemont, Officer Perri, Fiorito and other unidentified officers, plus the cost of the suit.


Monday, April 26, 2010

MELROSE SEVEN: Court Updates

This is an update on recent goings on in the courtroom.

CERVONE - Will begin serving his big 60 day sentence on April 30, 2010 instead of July 19, 2010 as originally ordered. This is by his request that he be allowed to begin serving his sentence as soon as possible.

CAPUTO - Satisfied his judgment of $5100.00.

MONTINO - Filed a motion disagreeing with the United State's forfeiture request and of course the U.S. filed a reply. Both are here for you to read.

-- Montino reply to forfeiture --

-- USA reply to Montino --

SCAVO - Filed a motion disagreeing with the United State's forfeiture request and yes, they filed a reply. Both are supplied here for you.

-- Scavo reply to forfeiture --

-- USA reply to Scavo --

I am sure that the motions will continue to allow them to continue collecting their pensions.

NEWS: (National) 'Professional courtesy' for NJ trooper raises questions

--There is a lot to discuss here. I think I will do this a topic on the show in order to give it proper coverage.--


N.J. State Police looks the other way after fellow trooper drinks and drives

GLOUCESTER, N.J. — It had all the makings of a routine motor vehicle stop. Police officer Ronald Gorneau spotted a silver Toyota swerving and pulled it over. The driver, Sheila McKaig of Monroe Township, admitted she had drunk "a lot" before getting behind the wheel, according to the incident report.

Then she told Gorneau she was a state trooper, and the stop in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, was no longer routine. Instead of being charged, McKaig was driven to the township's police station, where fellow troopers picked her up.

It was not an isolated incident. In fact, it was the third time in three months in early 2008 that an off-duty McKaig was stopped by Hamilton police after drinking, according to a state police document. Each time no blood-alcohol test was given, no charges were filed and no ticket was written. Today McKaig is still on the road as a state trooper, a position she has held for nine years.

All told, McKaig was stopped 10 times for various offenses over a 14-month period, but she has never received a traffic ticket in New Jersey, according to police records and a spokeswoman for the state judiciary.

The file on McKaig's motor vehicle stops was part of state police disciplinary records requested by The Star-Ledger of Newark, sister paper of the Times, and provided by the Office of Administrative Law. The incident report was obtained from Hamilton Township police under the state's Open Public Records Act.

Law enforcement experts call it "professional courtesy" when officers give fellow cops a pass they would not give the average driver. At the same time, however, New Jersey has been on a sustained crackdown on drunken driving. In 2008, police arrested 28,705 people for driving under the influence, and 154 people died in accidents involving at least one intoxicated person.

Assemblyman Nelson Albano, D-Cumberland, who has campaigned for tougher laws against driving under the influence, said the McKaig incidents showed disregard for efforts to crack down on drinking and driving.

"Those officers did not do their job," he said of the Hamilton Township police who stopped McKaig. "There should be no favoritism, no special treatment."

State police officials said McKaig, 41, is a highly respected and decorated trooper who has earned her spot patrolling the Atlantic City Expressway by staying sober the past two years. Although she caught a break from Hamilton police, they said, she used the opportunity to turn her life around.

"The break got her sober," said Jim Nestor, who leads the state police's employee-assistance program, which arranges counseling for troopers.

State police officials said McKaig would not be available for comment.

Hamilton Township Police Chief Stacy Tappeiner said the officers should not have given McKaig a break.

"The discretion exercised for McKaig was done far too leniently due to the person's profession," said Tappeiner, who became police chief this year.

Deborah Jacobs, state director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the police should have taken a tougher stand. "It seems to me that police agencies should want to hold police officers to a higher standard than that of the general public, not a lower standard," she said.

Dennis Kenney, a former Florida policeman who is a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said police use an informal "sliding scale" when determining whether to look the other way. Speeding off-duty cops may get a pass, but drinking and driving is less likely to be overlooked because it's much more dangerous, he said.

Although cutting breaks violates the principle of equally enforcing the law, it's still common, Kenney said.

"Policing is not unlike any other profession," he said. "Every other profession has its way of making exceptions for friends and colleagues."

McKaig was never suspended after the stops, which were detailed in the police documents obtained by The Star-Ledger through the Open Public Records Act. But she is facing disciplinary charges of conduct unbecoming an officer related to the allegations of drinking and driving. The charges were signed by state police Supt. Rick Fuentes in March 2009, almost one year after McKaig's third alcohol-related stop. They will be reviewed at an administrative hearing.

The disciplinary charges noted that Hamilton Township police pulled McKaig over 10 times from March 17, 2007, through April 30, 2008. "The majority of stops concluded with verbal warnings, however, the last three instances involved the consumption of alcoholic beverages," reads the document.

The document also shows McKaig later admitted to internal state police investigators that she had been drinking alcohol before being pulled over each of those three times. Driving while drunk is a motor vehicle violation, not a criminal offense, in New Jersey. But the penalties are tough; even a first offense for drunken driving can cost the motorist a hefty fine and a license suspension of up to six months. A third conviction within 10 years of the second conviction can land someone in jail for 180 days in addition to a 10-year license suspension.

McKaig's lawyer, Katherine Hartman, said she doesn't believe her client was ever over the legal limit.

However, Hamilton police were concerned enough that they didn't let McKaig drive home after the second and third stops involving alcohol, documents show.

Poor communication

On April 11, 2008, police stopped McKaig for speeding and reported she was "pretty impaired and not fit to drive." A cop drove her home, leaving her car in a parking lot.

Two weeks later, when McKaig admitted to drinking "a lot" of alcohol, police had her car towed. Under the legislation known as John's Law, police are allowed to impound a drunken motorist's car to prevent the motorist from returning to it and continuing to drive while intoxicated.

Each stop was handled by a different officer, and poor communication left the Hamilton department in the dark about how often McKaig had been pulled over, Tappeiner said.

"Once we were aware of the multiple stops, the previous chief had our internal affairs officer notify the state police immediately," he said. "The previous chief also took steps to correct the situation within the department."

At that point, McKaig's supervisor sent her to the employee-assistance program to get help, state officials said.

"She's a good person that had an issue," said State Police spokesman Capt. Gerald Lewis. "She has overcome some obstacles and is still a productive member of the State Police."

McKaig has drawn positive attention since graduating from the State Police Academy in May 2001. She was commended for helping save the life of a 4-year-old girl lying on a road in Deptford Township after a car accident in 2005; she performed CPR without a protective mask. In 2008 she was recognized again for helping disarm a man in Camden who had two handguns.

Lewis said State Police leaders do not want troopers cutting breaks for fellow cops, and he emphasized that the State Police were not responsible for pulling over McKaig.

Since the stops, she has attended meetings for alcoholics, spoken at conferences and visited with female prison inmates to discuss addiction, said Nestor, who talked about McKaig's case with her permission.

He added that her situation is not unusual. "It happens to a lot of cops," Nestor said. "They get breaks by other cops."

There are no formal rules on how police should enforce the law with fellow officers, said Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office.

Maki Haberfeld, another professor at John Jay, said detailed rules could help break down the "blue wall of silence where police officers cover for each other no matter what."

"If there's no strict regulation, it will just continue," Haberfeld said.

NEWS: 2 Chicago state reps: Bring in the National Guard

--I am not a fan of Jody Weis, but I agree with him here. This is not the answer. This is just bad idea--

From Chicago Tribune

Two state representatives called on Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday to deploy the Illinois National Guard to safeguard Chicago's streets.

Chicago Democrats John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford said they want Quinn, Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis to allow guardsmen to patrol streets and help quell violence. Weis said he did not support the idea because the military and police operate under different rules.

"Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is," Fritchey said. "Is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question. We are not talking about rolling tanks down the street or having armed guards on each corner."

What he envisions, Fritchey said, is a "heightened presence on the streets," particularly on the roughly 9 percent of city blocks where most of the city's violent crimes occur.

Weis previously identified those "hot spots" and said he plans to create a 100-person team made up of selected and volunteer police personnel to respond to crime there. If guardsmen were to assist police, they could comprise or contribute to that force, Fritchey said.

So far this year, 113 people have been killed across Chicago, the same number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined in the same period, Fritchey said.

"As we speak, National Guard members are working side-by-side with our troops to fight a war halfway around the world," Fritchey said. "The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly taking place right in our backyard." While the National Guard has been deployed in other states to prevent violence related to specific events and protests, the Chicago legislators said they are unaware of guardsmen being deployed to assist with general urban unrest.

Weis countered that the only scenario in which the National Guard would be helpful is in the situation of a tornado, earthquake or flood. If the military were brought in to help with city violence, they wouldn't answer to police command -- creating a "major disconnect" in mission and strategy.

Alluding to the 1970 Kent State University incident where the National Guard was called in and protestors and students were shot, Weis said having guardsmen handle crime could be "disastrous." But he said if the Daley suggested it, he would consider the option.

"I'm open to anything that reduces violence. But I have concerns when you mix law enforcement and the military," Weis said.

But Fritchey and Ford said prompt action is needed because summer is right around the corner and with the warm weather comes an increase in violence.

Fritchey and Ford serve two different constituencies, representing the North Side and the West Side respectively. "One half of this city views this as a part of daily life," Fritchey said. "Another part of the city doesn't care because it doesn't affect them." Yet the lawmakers said they are coming together because gun violence should be a priority to all Chicagoans.

"No help is too much help" Ford said. "This is not just about the murders. It's about the crime. It's about people being stabbed, robbed and in the hospital on life support."

Fritchey said he spoke to representatives from Quinn's office about deploying guardsmen and they "seemed open to the idea." The lawmakers had yet to speak to Weis or the mayor's office.

"I don't anticipate the governor implementing it over the objection of the mayor," Fritchey said.

"I hope this doesn't become a territorial issue. I hope this doesn't become an ego issue. This isn't about public relations or politics. This is about reclaiming our communities."

-- Kristen Mack and Daarel Burnette II

NEWS (R.I.P.): Wis. Deputy Killed by Suspected Drunken Driver

--When the officers identity is released a proper notification will be posted--
Duke News

A Vilas County deputy was killed last night by a suspected drunken driver while responding to a call, according to WLUK-TV.

A pick-up truck was parked on the shoulder of highway 47 in Lac du Flambeau when it pulled in front of the deputy's cruiser, causing him to rear-end the truck.

The deputy -- whose name was not released -- was pronounced dead on the scene.

The 49-year-old driver suffered minor injuries and was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving

PENSION: (Melrose Park) New chief retires, gets pension -- then returns as consultant

--This is why we have pension problems in this state--

From Chicago Sun-Times

April 26, 2010


When Melrose Park's current police chief said he was going to retire, village officials didn't want to see him go. So they came up with an unusual solution to keep police chief Sam Pitassi around. And Pitassi has reaped the benefits.

For years, Pitassi was a deputy to Vito Scavo, the former chief.

In May 2007, Pitassi was promoted to the chief's job and got about $111,000 in salary.

Last July, Pitassi retired from the job. Then, he got a consultant's contract with Melrose Park -- to be chief of police.

He does the same job, but the maneuver offers a substantial financial benefit for Pitassi, who started as a patrolman in Melrose Park in 1974.

After he retired, he started taking his pension of $8,125 a month.

About the same time, he agreed "to administer and manage" the Melrose Park Police Department for about $65,000 a year.

So Pitassi collects his pension as well as his salary under his consultant's deal.

His grand total: more than $162,000 a year.

Pitassi could not be reached for comment.

But Melrose Park Mayor Ronald M. Serpico defends the practice, calling it "a good-government thing." Serpico says Melrose Park gets to keep Pitassi, a good chief, at roughly half his old salary, while the pension fund is paying him what he's owed anyway.

Serpico acknowledges that, for Pitassi, "I'm not going to minimize it's a decent deal."

Serpico says other suburbs have engaged in similar practices and that Melrose Park is awaiting a legal opinion from the state to make sure what it's doing is OK.

Typically, suburbs in similar situations expand or change the retiree's responsibilities when he comes back as a consultant, rather than have the person fill the exact same job.

Pitassi's contract includes a confidentiality clause under which he agrees to keep "all information about the village, its past and present officials ... wholly confidential."

He's allowed to disclose information if it's subpoenaed, but first he has to tell village officials about the subpoena -- and not over turn any materials before the village has a chance to consult an attorney and, perhaps, fight the subpoena.

MELROSE SEVEN: Crooked police chief still gets a pension

--Unreal how the system works. This will be a topic on this weeks Duke's Blotter Live--

Former Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo arrives at federal court in the Loop for sentencing on Feb. 17.
(John H. White/Sun-Times)

From Chicago Sun Times

And his Melrose Park deputy collected nearly $400,000 despite conviction

April 26, 2010


Vito Scavo -- the crooked former Melrose Park police chief -- muscled a Catholic church, a movie theater, a children's amusement park and other businesses in the west suburb to hire his private security firm, which he staffed with on-duty cops.

He also ordered his employees -- while on the clock -- to drive his car from Illinois to his Florida vacation home.

He had them hang his Christmas lights, get his wife's car washed, take his dog to the groomer -- and pick up its doo-doo from his backyard.

Scavo, who retired in 2006, was convicted of racketeering and extortion and sentenced in February to six years in prison.

But he's still getting his Melrose Park government pension -- $7,737.88 a month.

Scavo's deputy police chief, James Caputo, had his own problems with the law. First, he was charged in state court with stealing $36,000 in checks issued to the police department and eventually pleaded guilty. Then, he was charged in federal court along with Scavo. He pleaded guilty in that case, too, and got 31 months in prison.

All the while, he collected nearly $400,000 in pension benefits, until the Village of Melrose Park Police Pension Fund Board stopped his payments earlier this month.

Illinois law provides for government pensions to be forfeited when public officials are convicted of felonies tied to their official duties. But, as Scavo and Caputo show, crooked officials can be charged, convicted and sentenced -- but still collect a substantial amount of their pensions.

That Scavo and Caputo have been able to collect on their pensions infuriates Michael Manzo, who ran unsuccessfully for Melrose Park village president in 2001, promising to replace Scavo if elected.

"It's a disgrace to all the honest cops who are putting into the pension that Vito Scavo is still getting paid," says Manzo.

Scavo continues to collect his pension because, even though he was sentenced earlier this year, the judgment against him hasn't formally been entered into the court record yet. That's when the proper authorities -- in this case, the Melrose Park Police Pension Fund Board -- can act to stop his pension payments, under state law. But no sooner.

Reached Friday, Scavo had no comment.

The final judgment in his case hasn't been entered because federal prosecutors and Scavo's attorneys are still squabbling over money -- exactly how much of his ill-gotten gains Scavo must forfeit. Prosecutors are asking for more than $1 million. Scavo's lawyers say a more reasonable figure would be slightly more than $600,000.

A judge could rule by early May.

By then, Scavo will have collected more than $23,000 in pension benefits since he has been sentenced -- money that he will not have to give back.

As for Scavo's former deputy chief, Caputo was charged in July 2004 with stealing $36,000 in police department money by cashing checks made out to the department by an alarm company to cover its fees.

He retired the following month -- and began collecting his pension.

In February 2005, Caputo was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay back the money, which he did. The Cook County state's attorney's office had no comment -- except to note that this all happened under another administration. The misdemeanor plea was crucial for Caputo. It takes a felony conviction to keep a government official from collecting a pension.

But then, in July 2007, Caputo was charged with Scavo and five others in the federal criminal case. Last June, Caputo pleaded guilty to felony mail fraud. In January, a judge sentenced him to 31 months in prison.

His judgment was entered into the court record in February, which allowed the Melrose Park Police Pension Board to stop his pension. It did so earlier this month.

Asked about the pension, Caputo's attorney, Marc Martin, questioned the newsworthiness of the issue.

"For [a reporter] to travel out to Melrose Park at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday night for a pension hearing, it must have been a slow news day," Martin said.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

PENSION: (Illinois) Springfield's costly and broken pension promise

Commentary from Daily Herald

In viewing the challenge over public pensions in Illinois, it is easy to get pulled into a pro-teacher/anti-teacher debate over the issue that in the end serves only to polarize the community.

Certainly, some of the numbers are staggering. One former superintendent in the suburbs drawing a pension at age 59 of $238,882 a year for the rest of her life. Another, also 59, right behind with an annual pension of $237,195 while working as a superintendent in Arizona, where he makes another $205,000.

All told, 131 former educators in Illinois draw annual pensions of $150,000 or more.

Given early retirement and average life expectancy, those 131 can expect to receive seven-figure payouts in retirement - some, many millions of dollars.

It is helpful to keep in mind those are the top numbers, and they are reserved almost exclusively for administrators. And in most cases, they are from the suburbs. The pay downstate is not nearly so high.

Few retired teachers approach those pension figures. That's not to say retired teachers are suffering; clearly, the pension system is a generous one, especially for teachers who worked in the suburbs. It provides for a very comfortable retirement beyond the reach of many in the private sector. But for most, not quite the lavish one some retired superintendents enjoy.

But here's a central point that no one should miss: Teachers are not at fault for the crushing shortfall in the state's pension program.

Teachers, after all, did not promise the pensions. They merely worked in good faith and along the way, contributed a sizable part of their incomes to the retirement fund.

True certainly, their unions combined political clout with labor strength to lobby hard for the pension system we have today. But who, after all, said yes to this union muscle? Who, after all, acquiesced?

Are the pensions too generous to be sustained? That's a valid and important question, but let's not let it distract us from the central question of accountability.

Years ago, as described today by Senior State Government Editor John Patterson in the first installment of our On Guard series on the Public Pension Time Bomb, the state mandated the retirement system for public employees.

In other words, the state promised the pensions.

And then for years, the state robbed from the fund that was to fulfill that promise.

For years, the state put off its debt, borrowed more, ignored the growing problem - Democrats and Republicans alike.

Today, we're in an awful mess - a public employee pension system only 38.4 percent funded, $78 billion in debt.

The solution will be painful all the way around. In all likelihood, it eventually will include some combination of reduced pension benefits, general state program cuts, tax increases and polarizing acrimony. Common sense forecasts all that.

And who's to blame?

Not teachers.

No, it's the people we send to Springfield and have sent to Springfield these past several years.

The governors and legislators who did not mind the store, who time after time were shortsighted, taking the easy way out on tough decisions.

In the process, they betrayed our state's teachers. But not just them. They also betrayed the taxpaying public. And worse, they betrayed our progeny too.

PENSION: (Illinois) Pension crisis took decades to create, one day to 'fix'

From Daily Herald

SPRINGFIELD - After dodging the state's debt to Illinois pension systems for years, state lawmakers crammed through reforms in a matter of hours.

The legislature's sudden resolve came from a threatened drop in its credit rating that could have jeopardized funding for $31 billion worth of capital construction projects. Wall Street, it turns out, has grown increasingly impatient with Illinois' inability to address long-running problems. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measure April 14.

But the changes, which reduce benefits for new employees hired after Jan. 1, do little to address how the state will pay $78 billion it owes the pension funds. It's a debt that ultimately decides how much money is available to spend on education, police and the myriad other policies and programs supported by state taxpayers dollars.

A plan to pay down this massive liability passed in 1995, championed by the Republicans who controlled state government at the time. But it's by no means a quick fix. It put the state on a 50-year payment plan that would result in the pension systems being 90 percent funded in 2045. The five state retirement systems are, on average, only 38.4 percent funded currently.

Recently, the state has been meeting its minimum payments for the 50-year fix only by borrowing - $3.5 billion last year alone.

How did it get this bad?

The answer stretches back decades, covering numerous political administrations and legislative careers at the Capitol, all of whom had a role in spending state pension money on things other than state pensions.

"A lawmaker who has to run for re-election in the relatively near future is more interested in using the money for programs that provide results for the here-and-now than squirreling away money for benefits that won't come for decades," said political observer Charlie Wheeler, who's tracked state spending since the early 1970s, first as a statehouse reporter and now as a professor at the University of Illinois' Springfield campus.

The irony is those decisions will ultimately lead to lawmakers having to divert tax dollars to pay for past benefits rather than spend money on current-day programs.

"When your grandchildren are here they want to pay taxes for the services they receive. They don't want to pay taxes for the government services you received 20 years earlier," said Lawrence Msall, president of the Civic Federation of Chicago, an organization increasingly active in reforming the state's pension finances.

Locally elected school boards and school employees - whether it's the suburban superintendents pulling down salaries of more than a quarter-million dollars annually or the rookie downstate teacher barely making $22,000 a year - dutifully set aside 9.4 percent of each paycheck for the state's teacher pension system, as required.

"I don't understand how nobody seems to be culpable for underfunding my pension," said Eleanor Roberts, whose nearly two decades of teaching including a brief stint in Libertyville in the 1960s. She retired in 2002, having never made more than $41,000 but having made all required contributions to the pension system. "If I didn't pay my part I'd be drummed out of the profession."

"I think that's a betrayal," Roberts said of the underfunding. "I pay my property taxes. I pay my state income tax. I pay my federal income tax. I paid my teacher retirement. Life is reciprocal. If I live up to my part of the bargain keeping society afloat, they should have to hold up their end of the bargain."

Unfortunately for Roberts and millions of other Illinois taxpayers, the state legislators and governors they elected for decades didn't hold up their end.

As far back as the state's 1950 budget, examples can be found of officials warning that lagging state contributions were creating unsound economics. Yet, it continued and snowballed.

Recent pension changes will require public-sector employees hired after Jan. 1 to work until age 67 to collect a full pension. They could retire at 62 but with reduced benefits.

Currently, public-sector employees can retire as early as 55 under certain circumstances and begin collecting a pension. The changes mean future teachers and other government workers will pay into the system longer and likely receive pension checks for fewer years before they die. The long-term savings for the state will be more than $200 billion, but only about $400 million in next year's budget.

But those changes don't reduce the past debt that's built up in the state pension systems. The debt is so massive that even the 50-year fix counts on the pensions being underfunded for decades to come. And the state has struggled recently to keep up with the payment plan.

In 2005, hard-pressed to balance a growing budget with less than stellar tax revenues, Democratic lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich temporarily set aside the 50-year plan for two years by passing a law that reduced by nearly $2.3 billion the legally authorized pension payments to the Teachers' Retirement System and other pension systems.

Last year, lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn again faced a budget awash in red ink. They voted to borrow $3.5 billion - to be paid back over five years - to make the required pension payments.

Making matters worse for the pension systems has been a tanking stock market that flushed billions in investment income. In the 2007 budget year, the teachers' pension system investments earned $6.8 billion. The following year those investments lost $2 billion.

The directors of the state Teachers' Retirement System recently certified that they'd need $2.36 billion in the next state budget, a $269 million increase, to stay the course of the 50-year fix. That increase alone gobbles up more than half the projected early savings in the new employees' pension system.

Quinn's budget director said there's no interest in skipping payments or extending the 50-year plan to lower this year's payment. Quinn has sought an income-tax increase to help cover education funding, which could free up state funds for use elsewhere. But its prospects for approval this session are dim.

Exactly how the pension payment will be covered and the rest of the budget balanced is one of the top issues lawmakers face in the remaining weeks of their spring session, scheduled to adjourn in May.