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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, September 30, 2010

Duke's Blotter Live - Tonight (Sep 30) @ 9 pm


On tonight's show hear the audio clips of Oak Brook attorney Constantine "Connie" Xinos as he tells the Community Finance Committee to fire one fireman a month until they learn to conform to the village's wishes. Learn about this man and his history as a modern day "Scrooge".

Illinois pension and financial news. Get the real facts on the so called pension crisis.

All the latest news in law enforcement.

NEWS: First female cop hired in 1891, 22 years earlier than thought

Marie Owens is believed to be the first woman police officer in the United States.  (Chicago Daily Tribune)
Chicago Sun-Times

September 30, 2010
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

You’ve come a long way, baby. But it didn’t take as long as what was once thought.

The first female police officer in Chicago and the nation was hired in 1891 — 22 years earlier than previously assumed — and her name was Marie Owens.

At the urging of a dogged investigator and Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), the City’s Council’s resident historian, Chicago aldermen agreed Thursday to correct the Police Department record after deciding on a fitting tribute to Owens, who specialized in enforcing child labor laws.

“I’d love to see a bronze statue, but perhaps the re-naming of a school. This is a woman who helped thousands of children,” said Rick Barrett, who uncovered the evidence.

Owens was the daughter of Irish immigrants and the widowed mother of five who crusaded against children working in factory sweatshops, first as a Health Department investigator and later as a detective sergeant in the Chicago Police Department.

Her work was documented by Chicago newspapers at the time. But police records never reflected it, apparently because Owens was confused with another woman with the same last name who was a patrolman’s widow.

The official record assumed that Chicago’s first female police officer was hired in 1913 — five years after one was hired in Portland, Oregon and three years after Los Angeles hired one.

Enter Barrett, a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent who hails from a long line of police officers and helped uncover evidence that established Constable James Quinn as the first Chicago Police officer killed in the line of duty in 1853.

Barrett stumbled upon Owens’ name during the course of his broader research on the Police Department and dug through the dusty archives of the police pension fund to uncover the evidence: Owens retired in 1923 after 32 years on the force. She had a pension that amounted to half her police salary — $1,000 per year, or just over $83 per month.

The amateur historian read from an Op Ed article that Owens wrote in the Chicago Tribune in 1901 about her efforts to enforce child labor and compulsory education laws.

“When the work first began, a woman wearing a police sergeant’s star was a novelty. Manufacturers, in some cases, were not inclined to admit me to their work shops. But, armed with the strong arm of the law and the will to do good, I soon found that, in most cases, the merchants met me half-way and rendered me great assistance,” he quoted Owens as writing.

Barrett also quoted one of Owens’ supervisors, Capt. O’Brien,  as saying, “Give me men like she is a woman and we will have the model detective bureau of the whole world.”

During Thursday’s hearing, Burke and Assistant Superintendent Bea Coehlo, Chicago’s highest-ranking female police officer, recalled that women wore badges on their civilian clothes — not uniforms — until 1946 and once carried .32-caliber revolvers while their male counterparts used .38 caliber.

“The days of wearing skirts and being assigned to youth or other administrative functions came to an end in 1975, when women were finally given the opportunity to work in patrol. Through their perseverance, women have increasingly been recognized for their ability and strength as true leaders,” Coehlo said.

When Coehlo joined the department in 1987, women comprised just nine percent of the city’s sworn officers. Now, it’s 24 percent, including 300 female supervisors and eleven female members of the command staff.

After urging his colleagues to “right a wrong of history,” Burke openly acknowledged that his book, End of Watch, also included the mistake by ignoring Owens.

“I can assure that, if we ever do a re-printing of this book, we will correct that error,” he said.

NEWS: (National) Police fear crime increase as recession saps forces

Washington Post

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 29, 2010; 9:12 PM

Police chiefs across the country say that they are feeling the effects of the nation's economic downturn directly, with budget cuts forcing them to reduce their ranks and leading to fears that the downturn in crime will soon be reversed.

In Sacramento, beset by California's financial woes, homicides are up 43 percent this year, assaults on police are up 13 percent, and Chief Rick Braziel said he had to eliminate his vice unit.

In Phoenix, Chief Joe Harris said he does not have the funds to fill more than 10 percent of his officer jobs and knows he will not be filling any vacancies for another three years. Harris had to put 50 of his 95 school resource officers back on the streets, though school resource officers are seen as crucial tools in fighting gangs.

In Lawrence, Mass., the need to keep officers answering 911 calls forced Chief John J. Romero to eliminate the units focused on drugs, domestic violence, auto theft, insurance fraud and gangs, he said. This summer, when the cuts took effect, auto thefts immediately soared.

"It's what's happening to all police departments, I get it," Romero said, in a city of 73,000 where crime had dropped 60 percent since 1999. "But it's had a major impact on our city."

In Washington on Thursday, more than 100 police chiefs and law enforcement experts are gathering to discuss whether the economic downturn is fundamentally changing the way police departments do their jobs. The gathering is sponsored by the D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum, which surveyed more than 600 state and local law agencies earlier this month and found they had sustained an average budget cut of 7 percent this year. Department budgets had increased 6 percent on average the prior year.

"For the longest time," said Chuck Wexler, the forum's executive director, "people thought that the police didn't matter, didn't affect the crime rate. Now we've seen that's not true." He said improved policing helped drive the number of homicides in New York City down from 2,200 in 1990 to 466 last year. Homicides are up 13 percent in New York City so far this year, he said.

In the District, homicides dropped from 454 in 1993 to 143 last year.

But the tactics that reduced crime, Wexler said, such as placing officers in schools, targeting high-crime areas and focusing on particular crimes, "are now being eroded, across the country."

In interviews, several chiefs said that their first priority was answering calls for service, and placing enough officers on the street means taking them from somewhere else. The Minneapolis police had to eliminate their narcotics unit, Wexler said, and the Boston police cut their bicycle and mounted patrol squads.

In Montgomery County, Chief J. Thomas Manger said he once had officers in every high school in the county. Now he has none in the middle schools and is down to nine school resource officers, who must shuttle between more than 30 schools.

"The rapport with kids is diminished, and that proved to be invaluable," Manger said. "We were preventing things from happening, we were solving crimes that had occurred. There's going to be a lot less of that."

In addition to reductions in police funding, typically one of the last places that cities and counties cut, other reductions in social service funding have added headaches for law enforcement.

In Sacramento, Braziel said, mental health services were cut for the third straight year. Inmates are being released early from prison, but without job training, since those programs were also cut. There are fewer probation officers Jobs are scarce, and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous are declining, Braziel said.

"Even the people who want to do the right thing when they get out," Braziel said, "they can't. So they jump right back into where they were comfortable."

Though Sacramento had made significant crime reductions, "the trend line is starting to go back up," Braziel said.

Braziel said he is reaching out to other financially strapped departments in his region to see how they might pool resources.

Phoenix also has seen a drastic drop in crime. But Harris said if that trend reverses, he has perhaps 500 fewer officers to police a city of 1.6 million. "We won't have enough officers," he said.

In Prince William County, Col. Charlie T. Deane, chief of police, said he had to eliminate all four officers from the county's middle schools, and educational anti-gang and anti-drug programs were cut. In Fairfax County, Chief David M. Rohrer said he cut half of his crime prevention officers, who oversee neighborhood watch and training groups, and all eight of the officers assigned to elementary schools.

Manger said he had to cut his community outreach squad, which helped communicate with Montgomery County's growing Hispanic population.

Recently, in the Langley Park area, Manger said a man had barricaded himself inside an apartment. When officers eventually entered the apartment, using a "dynamic entry" device which knocks down doors with a loud bang, the man was already dead, and no shots were fired, he said.

But onlookers got the impression that officers had shot the man, Manger said, and rumors ran wild: "I've still got an entire community that thinks we killed this guy." He said his community outreach officers once would have flooded the Hispanic neighborhood and calmed fears, but now, "I don't have that . . . It really puts us at a disadvantage."

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she had not had to make significant cuts yet, though she has 100 unfilled vacancies. But the city's population continues to grow, she said, and "I'm getting a little nervous" about managing the force when the budget has dropped from $520 million to $440 million.

Police Blotters September 30, 2010

Click on the town your interested in.

{{Franklin Park, Northlake}}


{{La Grange, Lagrange Park, Westchester}}

{{Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace}}

{{Jefferson Park (16th District)}}

{{Elmwood Park, River Grove}}


{{Maine Township}}

{{Norridge, Harwood Heights}}

{{Oak Park}}

{{Park Ridge}}

{{River Forest}}

{{Forest Park}}


UNION: Elmwood Park, firefighters agree on 3-year contract

Pioneer Press

September 30, 2010


Elmwood Park and its firefighters have come to terms.

The Village Board Sept. 20 approved the three-year agreement that is retroactive to May 1, 2009.

Both the village and the Elmwood Park Firefighters Association agree the delay in approving a new agreement basically boiled down to two sticking points -- physical fitness compensation and a cap on the accumulation of sick time.

The differences ran so deeply, both sides acknowledged, that for the first time in years not only did they go before a mediator but also needed to go through arbitration.

In July the arbitrator ruled in favor of the village on both issues.

The ruling called for a two-hour pay bonus for fulfilling the physical fitness standards and a cap of 1,300 hours on accumulated sick time.

The association had wanted $200 plus the two-hour bonus and a cap, if necessary, of 1,800 hours.

The new contract also calls for a 2.5 percent salary increase the first year, 3 percent the second and 3.25 the third.

That increases the starting salary of a firefighter to $47,992, $49,432 and $51,039 respectively.

A captain's salary will increase to $84,486 the first year, $87,021 the second and $89,849 the last year of the contract.

Firefighters also receive extra compensation for serving on teams that specialize in such areas as hazardous materials, fire investigation and technical rescue. The bonus is $600 per team, with a limit of up to three teams per year.

To qualify, the firefighter not only has to acquire the special set of skills but also participate in team drills, meetings and emergency incidents.

To qualify for the physical fitness bonus, a firefighter must complete a test made up of five parts that include walking half a mile wearing 40 pounds of equipment, climbing two flights of stairs without using the railings and carrying tools.

"I think the end result was positive," said Village President Peter Silvestri. "It was challenging, and there were issues due to the recessionary economy.

"But I think this is a fair contract. And the only terms of a contract that counts is the final contract."

Firefighters Association representative Tim Heneghan said the negotiation process "wasn't about the money."

"It was about keeping what we had," Heneghan said. "Mediation was not satisfactory, so we had to go to arbitration."

He said the firefighters used to have unlimited sick time.

"If you never took a sick day in 30 years, you could accrue 3,600 hours," Heneghan said. "We conceded about two-thirds of the attainable hours. "

Village Manager Jay Dalicandro said the limit on sick time now puts the fire department in line with other departments, such as police and public works.

"We understand the village's point that times are hard, hence the offer to forgo a pay increase the first year," Heneghan said.

The association had sought a 4 percent increase the second year, and 6 percent in the third.

"But we always assumed that was negotiable," Heneghan said. "You ask for something a little more than you expect, and bargain from there."

NEWS: Gurnee cop convicted of molesting girl

Chicago Tribune

September 30, 2010 5:41 AM

A Gurnee police officer was convicted late Wednesday of molesting a 10-year-old girl and was immediately taken into custody as he awaits two more trials on separate charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated assault and official misconduct.

A jury deliberated for more than five hours before finding Jay Simon, 38, guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Simon hugged tearful relatives and told them "I'm sorry" before being led away.

Less than a half an hour before their decision was announced, jurors told the judge they were deadlocked 10-2 but quickly came to consensus after they were told to deliberate for 30 more minute before calling it a night.

The victim, now 14, took the stand in the two-day trial, describing how Simon molested her during a party in Zion in 2006.

After the verdict, prosecutor Fred Day said he felt "relieved that the jury listened to that young girl, and very relieved and happy for the family. They've been through a lot."

But Simon's mother, Tonia Bowdker, said her son was "railroaded right from the get-go. They lied. There isn't anything else I can say."

Simon, of Round Lake Beach, took the stand in his own defense Wednesday but was not asked by either side if he was guilty of the charges. Simon testified that he was working during the time he said the incident was alleged to have happened.

Earlier in the day, the victim's mother testified that a year and a half went by before her daughter told her she'd been molested.

"I took her into the living room, and I asked her if there was anything she wanted to tell me," the mother said. "She broke down into tears and she told me, 'Yes, there was something that happened.'"

During cross examination, Defense Attorney Carolina DeLeon-Bond asked the woman if she called police, the Department of Children and Family Services or a doctor immediately after her daughter told her about the incident, to which she said that she had not.

The victim testified that she was afraid at first to tell anyone what had happened "because he is a cop." Simon was charged in June 2008.

Simon is to be tried later on separate charges of predatory criminal sexual assault against another girl, stemming from an incident that authorities said occurred about in 2007, when the alleged victim was 11.

Simon is also charged with aggravated assault and official misconduct stemming from an incident in which authorities said he went to the home of his ex-wife in Zion and threatened her then-boyfriend with a handgun.

Simon has been on unpaid leave from the Gurnee Police Department. He's scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 28 and could face up to 14 years in prison.

-- Ruth Fuller

R.I.P.: Police Officer Will Phillips


Police Officer Will Phillips
Greenfield Police Department
End of Watch: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Cause: Vehicular assault
Biographical Info
Age: 32
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: 251

Officer Will Phillips was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while on bike patrol training at approximately 12:45 am.

He and two other members of the bike patrol team had just finished their shift and were conducting a training ride on department issued bikes. They were riding on U.S. 40 between Greenfield and Knightstown when he was struck by a vehicle which then fled the scene. All of the officers were wearing helmets and had lights on their bikes on uniforms.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Officer Phillips remains at large.

Officer Phillips is survived by his wife and two young sons.
Photograph: Police Officer Will Phillips
Patch image: Greenfield Police Department, Indiana

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NEWS: (Suburban) Sting nets 100 alleged drug dealers

--Nice job--

Pioneer Press

September 28, 2010


At least six west suburban residents were among 100 people arrested in two large-scale drug-dealing investigations, the Cook Sheriff's office announced Tuesday.

Operation Wood View Park was led by the sheriff's office and included police from Maywood, Bellwood and Broadview. It netted 71 arrests. Operation Hard Swipe, led by Evanston Police Department, arrested 29 people.

The investigations started in February, following complaints from residents about open drug dealing in their neighborhoods.

Combined, the two investigations led to the seizure of 10 guns, $27,000 in cash and thousands of grams of narcotics with an estimated street value of more than $622,000.

Dealers were targeted as they crossed into different municipalities to sell drugs. The sting included undercover drug buys from dozens of street and mid-level drug dealers, according to the sheriff's office.

Officers from each department identified known dealers in their town and began gathering intelligence about their activities and associates. Most of those targeted were members of the Black P Stones, Four Corner Hustlers and Latin Kings, from whom undercover agents conducted multiple buys of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, the sheriff's office said.

Local offenders arrested include:

• Courtney Wesley, 28, of Bellwood arrested on two counts of possession of a controlled substance and the manufacture and dealing of heroin (1 to 15 grams), one count of unlawful use of a weapon/felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of manufacturing and dealing heroin near a school.

• Audrell Jefferson, 28, of Hillside arrested on one count of manufacturing or delivery of cocaine on or near a school.

• Michael Moreno, 32, of Maywood arrested on one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and one count of manufacturing/dealing of marijuana (30 to 500 grams). Police recovered a 9 mm handgun and seven rounds of ammunition recovered.

• Phyllis Rodriquez, 26, of Maywood arrested on one count of possession of a controlled substance, 327 grams of marijuana.

• Sammie Davis, 26, of Franklin Park was arrested on one count of manufacturing/dealing heroin near a school, one count of possession of a controlled substance-heroin, one count of possession of a controlled substance-manufacturing/dealing heroin, less than 10 grams, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of manufacturing/dealing cocaine near a school or park.

• Louis Smith, 23, of Franklin Park was arrested on one count of possession of a controlled substance, manufacture/dealing less than one gram of cocaine, two count of manufacture/dealing cocaine near a school, park or public housing, one count of possession of a controlled substance-heroin and one count of possession of a controlled substance-dealing or manufacturing heroin.

Bellwood Police Chief Robert Collins Jr. said his department's involvement in the Operation Hard Swipe was their way of assisting in the fighting against criminal activity.

"The main thing in all of this is the ability for all of the agencies to cooperate," he said. "It's one of the most important tools to use against criminal activity."

He said the investigation was conducted over seven to eight months and that sometimes to fight crime the boundaries separating one department from another come down for the greater good.

"We all respect each others borders, but the criminals go wherever they want to so you have to have an arm," he said.

As a result of the investigations the Bellwood Police Department obtained more information about potential criminal elements in the community.

"You gain intelligence and at the same time you clean up the streets," he said.

NEWS: Ruling could make it easier to recover cash seized by cops

Chicago Tribune

September 28, 2010 9:24 PM

The city of Chicago may have to pay out millions of dollars to arrestees who got the runaround when they tried to get back money seized by police.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled this week in favor of two Chicago men who filed a federal lawsuit claiming Police Department policies made it impossible to reclaim confiscated money.

The case could pave the way for thousands of people to get back small amounts of cash lost to the department since 2003, such as the $113 taken from Elton Gates and the $59 lost by Luster Nelson, the two plaintiffs in the appeals court case, said Thomas Peters, Gates' attorney.

The city last month settled a similar suit for $2.75 million that will be paid to people who had cash confiscated from 2001 to 2009. The case does not deal with money forfeited after convictions.

"(The police) trick the people into not collecting their money or they make it too difficult," Peters said.

The court ruled that police inventory receipts issued in 2003 and 2004 when Nelson and Gates were arrested made it appear the department sends notice when money will be returned. But no notice was sent.

"It appears the city's instructions were a model of misdirection," wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner in Monday's opinion.

-- Andy Grimm

NEWS: (Chicago) City to hold first police entrace exam in four years

--Not sure about 30,000 applicants but I am sure there will a few thousand. I think they should do away with the college requirement as I have always been a believer that common sense is worth more than 100 college degrees on the street.--

Chicago Sun-Times

September 28, 2010

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

Chicago will hold its first police entrance exam in four years — attracting upwards of 30,000 applicants, a pivotal step to ease a manpower shortage that has left the department more than 2,300 officers a day short of authorized strength.

At least 116 more officers have agreed to take advantage of Mayor Daley’s offer to extend premium health benefits to those who retire at age 55, exacerbating a shortage of officers that cannot be solved without a new hiring list.

Connie Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Human Resources, said the Daley administration has asked four firms with so-called “master consulting agreements” to compete for the right to administer a new police entrance exam, the first since 2006.

“The request seeks a vendor who would purchase a pre-existing exam directly from an exam developer, provide exam materials and study guides, staff the exam and administer and grade the exam,” Buscemi said, noting that responses are due by Oct. 8.

In July, Daley vowed to hire 100 more police officers after a stunning outbreak of violence that saw three police officers gunned down in two months.

On Sept. 1, a new class of 120 recruits entered the police academy to start their six months of training, honoring the mayor’s promise but depleting a 2006 hiring list.

The city had three options: scrap the police entrance exam altogether; hire an outside consultant to draft a new exam or take the testing process back in-house.

Instead of making Chicago the first major city with an application-only process, Daley chose to hold a new exam, but in a way that would speed the process because time is of the essence. The manpower shortage is getting worse with each wave of retirements.

NEWS: (Chicago) 7th Chicago police officer charged in towing scam

Chicago Tribune

By Andy Grimm, Tribune Reporter

8:06 PM CDT, September 28, 2010

A seventh Chicago police officer has been charged as part of a probe into cops tipping off favored tow truck drivers to car crashes in return for bribes.

Marcos Hernandez, a patrol officer in the Shakespeare District, faces a single misdemeanor count for using the computer in his squad car to give owner information to a tow truck driver whom Hernandez called to a crash scene in September 2006.

Three tow truck operators have charged in addition to the seven officers in the federal Operation Tow Scam probe. While the investigation has targeted officers who took payoffs from tow drivers for tips on crashes, Hernandez is charged only with disseminating information from the confidential law-enforcement database.

A police department spokesman said Hernandez would be reassigned to a paid administrative post on his return from medical leave. Hernandez was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack, said his attorney, Dan Hebert. Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty, is a veteran of more than 20 years with the department, Hebert said.

The charge was filed against Hernandez in June but remained under seal until this month when Hernandez was arrested. He was released on his own recognizance, court records show.

Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago, would not comment on why the charge against Hernandez had remained under seal for more than three months.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

R.I.P.: Police Officer James E. Fowler III


Police Officer James E. Fowler III
Baltimore City Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, September 27, 2010
Cause: Automobile accident
Biographical Info
Age: 61
Tour of Duty: 34 years
Badge Number: Not available

Officer James Fowler was killed in an automobile accident on U.S. 22 in Lewiston, Pennsylvania, while traveling to an accident investigation training course at Penn State University.

During the drive Officer Fowler encountered inclement weather, causing his vehicle to leave the roadway and strike the center divider.

Officer Fowler was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Baltimore Police Department for 34 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Photograph: Police Officer James E. Fowler III
Patch image: Baltimore City Police Department, Maryland

NEWS: Oak Brook resident: Fire firefighters 'one by one'

--When I originally posted this story it was so new the voices on the tape were unidentified. It was thought that the person making the statements was a board member. Since then, the person has been identified as Oak Brook resident Constantine Xinos.

If you listen to the full audio clip you will hear what is probably the most despicable part in all of this. It appears that while discussing the recent death of of a Deputy Chief from another municipality the board members are giggling.

I am posting the Channel 7 news story plus video, I am also reposting the shortened clip of the meeting as well as a full recording of the whole meeting which I obtained. This way you can hear the statements in all forms available.

There is so much that can be said here on this but I think I will wait until Duke's Blotter Live on Thursday to make my comments.--

Complete audio clip of the meeting {{HERE}}

Channel 7 story and video:


September 27, 2010 (OAK BROOK, Ill.) (WLS) -- A budget battle in one western suburb has turned personal after a resident suggested the village begin firing firefighters one by one.

On Monday night, that resident, Constantine Xinos, defended his comments, while firefighters were fighting back.

In a suburb of gated communities, golf courses and manicured lawns, referring to firefighters as "street people" is bound to cause some backlash.

Xinos said he was merely illustrating in vivid detail the choices Oak Brook and many other communities must face as they tackle unbalanced budgets.

"I like the firemen, they do a great job - and I'm not blowing smoke," said Xinos.

Xinos may "like" firefighters, but he also may not be making a lot of friends among them.

Last week at a meeting on the village's finances, he took to the microphone for a fiery speech.

"Firemen, like cops, are street people. They only understand civilized force. That's what they understand. You fire 'em!" said Xinos.

He went on to argue that Oak Brook can no longer afford the firefighters' existing paychecks and pensions.

The village says 27 of the department's 28 firefighters earn more than $100,000 a year in total compensation. Pension payments are passed from the firefighter to their spouse for life.

Xinos said at the meeting that the village should start firing firefighters one by one until pressure at home causes them to make concessions.

"Maybe they'll sue us. Maybe they'll win something three years from now. She'll leave him. He'll be out of the house. The dog will be dead and the kids will be out on the streets. That's the way you get through life. You don't get through life being a namby pamby," he said.

Xinos said he did not regret his statements.

"I regret nothing," said Xinos. "You have to get people's attention."

It's working. Just ask 17-year Oak Brook fire veteran and local union president George Grodek.

"We've dedicated our lives to the village of Oak Brook," said Grodek. "To hear someone say because they don't want to pay a property tax they'd like to ruin my livelihood and family's wellbeing is just shocking."

"I think what you heard at that meeting was frustration with a union contract that doesn't give us a lot of flexibility," said Oak Brook Village Manager Dave Niemeyer.

In Oak Brook, sales tax revenue from the shopping center means residents don't have to pay property taxes for village services.

Village firefighters feel like residents have been getting their services essentially for free, so why should they make concessions?

Statter911 Audio clip:

NEWS: (National) Drug shortage threatens executions, but not in Texas

--Ya gotta love Texas--


NEWS: (National) States Delay Executions Owing To Drug Shortage

The Statesman

By Mike Ward


Published: 8:19 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

Though some executions in the United States have been put on hold because of a shortage of one of the drugs used in lethal injections, Texas officials said Monday they have no such plans.

"We have three executions scheduled through the end of this year, and we have an ample supply to carry those out," said Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville. "At the present, we are unaffected by the shortage."

The Associated Press reported Monday that several of the 35 states that rely on sodium thiopental — an anesthetic that renders condemned convicts unconscious so they can be overdosed on two other drugs — are having trouble finding the drug after the sole U.S. manufacturer delayed shipment until January at the earliest because of manufacturing problems.

Some states have delayed executions. Other states are struggling to find a supplier for executions slated later this year. On Monday, California announced it will halt all executions after Sept. 30 because of the shortage.

Dan Rosenberg, a spokesman for Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill., said the company is "working to get it back onto the market for our customers as soon as possible." The company has told several states that it lost its supplier of the active ingredient in sodium thiopental, according to AP.

But because the firm earlier this year sent letters to several states objecting to use of its product in executions, questions have been raised about whether the supply slowdown may be intentional. Hospira also makes two other drugs used in executions, officials in several sates told AP.

Texas prison officials on Monday refused to detail how much sodium thiopental they have on hand and how many executions it will cover. Lyons said that if the supply does not resume, Texas might have to examine alternatives.

"If, at some point, our supply dwindles, we would have to reassess our protocol," she said.

Lyons said officials were not revealing additional details about their supply of the state's execution drugs for security reasons. She and other officials did not specify their security concerns, but the agency has released such information in the past. Lyons said that the agency has asked Attorney General Greg Abbott to allow officials to withhold the information.

A barbiturate, sodium thiopental is used primarily to anesthetize patients for surgery and induce medical comas. It is also used to euthanize animals and has been used to help terminally ill people commit suicide, people familiar with the drug have said previously.

Since it started executing criminals by lethal injection in 1982, Texas has used a three-drug combination developed by Oklahoma — and now used by most of the 33 states that execute by a three-drug combination.

Two states — Ohio and Washington —use a single, extra-large dose of sodium thiopental to execute prisoners.

In Texas, 3 grams of sodium thiopental is administered in an intravenous solution to render the convict unconscious, followed by 100 milligrams of pancuronium bromide to paralyze muscles and 140 milliequivalents of potassium chloride to stop the heart.

The drugs are generally administered over a five-minute period. Texas officials have said the combination creates no substantial risk of pain.

As for the possibility of obtaining sodium thiopental elsewhere, the Food and Drug Administration said there are no FDA-approved manufacturers of the drug overseas. Most U.S. hospitals do not stock the drug, and medical ethics policies would likely prevent its purchase for use in executions.

If sodium thiopental does not become available again soon, states, including Texas, might find it difficult legally to switch to another drug. They have adopted the current three-drug cocktail after lengthy court challenges, and changing to another drug would likely trigger new lawsuits and appeals.

According to news reports, an Oklahoma judge last month delayed one execution when the state tried to switch anesthetics after running out of its regular supply. While enough sodium thiopental was finally obtained from another state, the court-ordered delay remains in effect.

In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear several weeks ago held off signing death warrants to allow executions to proceed for two convicts because the state is almost out of sodium thiopental. The state's lone dose hits its expiration date Oct. 1, and officials have said they so far have been unsuccessful in purchasing additional doses.

In Arizona, officials initially said the state did not have the drug and were not optimistic about obtaining it in time for an Oct. 26 execution. But they have since said they placed an order and expect to have it by next week.

Virginia on Thursday executed the first woman put to death in the United States since 2005. But officials have since suggested that the state could have a problem after that, though it has no further executions scheduled.

Missouri has enough sodium thiopental for an October execution, officials said, but its supply expires in January. Ohio ran out of the amount of sodium thiopental that state procedures call for just three days before a May 13 execution. The state obtained enough in time but won't say where, according to AP.

NEWS: (National) Cute photo -- but not for a police officer's Facebook page

--It's unfortunate but as public officials we are charged with keeping certain things private. This whole "social media" explosion is going to supply plenty of evolving rules and regulations for officers now. I am pleased to see that in this case the officer was just "lightly disciplined" and the department is taking a "growing pain" type of look at the situation.--

Posted: Sept. 27, 2010

Southfield police took the call: two baby goats
romping on a residential roof.

Keeping goats is illegal within city limits, so
police headed to the densely populated
neighborhood near Greenfield and 10 Mile roads.

The officer took a picture of the goats and
posted it on a personal Facebook page.

"The officer thought it was cute," Southfield
Police Chief Joseph Thomas said of the March
incident, but, "that's a photograph of the crime

Thomas said the officer was lightly disciplined,
and the photograph removed.

That led the department to re-examine how it
deals with the private lives of its public officers.
The department is one of several that doesn't
have specific policies about social media sites,
but does require officers to keep evidence and
investigations confidential.

Many are wading through the uncharted waters
of how to allow officers privacy when parts of
their lives are more public than ever.

"It might be innocent, but the individual police
officer isn't the person to make that decision,"
said Second Deputy Chief Michael Falvo of the
Detroit Police Department.

Officials evaluate staff policies

Metro Detroit police officers are among many public
 servants who maintain private lives on the

On Facebook, they post photos, tag friends and
change status updates. On Twitter, they post
plans, thoughts or locations.

But depending on what they write or post, an
officer could be breaking confidentiality,
undermining an investigation, or worse --
potentially violating someone's constitutional
rights, said Detroit Police Second Deputy Chief
Michael Falvo. That's not to mention possibly
embarrassing the department, he added.

The what-ifs are forcing police departments to
consider policies for an ever-evolving Internet.

"We're in constant defense about it," said Auburn
Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko. "It's not practical
to forbid it, but what you hear on the job, see on
the job, you leave it there. Now the lines are
getting blurrier."

Although Olko hasn't had a breach yet, she said
she worries about officers posting photos of
themselves in uniform, posting information that
shares an opinion, or being seen in a way that
compromises the credibility of the officer or the
department. Within her force of 53 sworn
officers, she estimates that half have a Facebook
page. It's a hot topic among department heads,
she said.

"Police are privy to lots of information," she said.
"Social media is just a whole new thing."

But social media can hurt an active career -- and
stop one before it starts.

Southfield Police Chief Joseph Thomas said the
Facebook status update of one young recruit --
"I can't wait to get a gun and kick some ass" --
ended his chances of getting an offer from the

"Do we want that mentality on the streets of
Southfield?" he said.

Dealing with social media is now a training topic
departments can pursue, said Randolph
Skotarczyk, chief of Harper Woods police. The
department has no explicit social media policy.

He likened dealing with Facebook and other
social media to the early days of camera phones,
when the ethical dilemma was about photos on
personal hardware.

"The tendency is to put so much up there," he
said of social media sites. "You think the
communication is only with friends, but it's with

Warren Police Chief William Dwyer said, so far,
the department has not had issues with

The department does not have a specific social
media policy.

Anything that's considered evidence is to stay
within the department, whether physically or
through the Internet. Dwyer, a former Detroit
police officer, said the lesson that nothing is
private was well-learned through the text
message scandal involving former Detroit Mayor
Kwame Kilpatrick.

"It's not a private thing now," he said of

That is why Auburn Hills Officer Jeramey Peters
monitors his personal page. He wants to be sure
the people he serves professionally don't have
access to his family through social networking.

"It's easy to go onto Facebook and post photos.
There's no control," he said.

Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Leman said
the department's policy also is more general;
evidence and photographs are not allowed
outside the department.

The Dearborn Police Department doesn't have a
policy specific to social media, but generally
requires no information be released without the
chief's approval, said Lt. Anthony Mencotti.

"Even if the most benign scene was posted on
Facebook, there would be serious consequences,"
he said.

NEWS: Book tells ex-cocaine dealer's incredible story

Chicago Sun-Times

 NEW BOOK | Went undercover to try to catch a serial killer

September 28, 2010
BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporter

When Jimmy Keene was a teenager, he wanted to play in the NFL. If he didn't make it, he told his dad, he'd settle for Hollywood.

Neither happened. But with a cocaine empire stretching from his Kankakee home to the South Side of Chicago, he was soon making too much money to care. Then he was locked up, and it seemed too late.

Now, at age 46, he's almost there. A book telling his life story comes out today, and an Oscar-winning screenwriter is adapting it.

It wasn't the cliched lifestyle of a 1980s cocaine kingpin that attracted Paramount to secure the rights -- though Keene had that life, complete with the mansion, the Corvettes, the women and the circle of rich friends.

It was the incredible deal federal prosecutors offered him that gave him a shot at redemption, and has stars including Brad Pitt lining up to play him on screen.

Let us transfer you to the highest security psychiatric hospital in the nation, they told him. Befriend a serial killer, get him to confess and tell us where he buried the bodies. Succeed and we'll release you. Fail and you might die. Nobody -- not even prison staff -- will know of your mission.

"Even while it was happening, it felt like a movie," he told his brother when it was all finally over.
Cocaine Kingpin

"I guess I did get in the back door in the end," Keene said, laughing, during a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. Now living in Oak Brook, he's been plotting to sell his story for a decade and is jittery how he'll look.

"I wish there was another word for drug dealer," he laments. "It sounds so harsh."

Keene still has the footballer's build that helped him lead Eastridge High School to a state championship game as a running back. He would rather focus on a ''fallen hero,'' and not what the blurb on his book, In With The Devil, calls "a few costly mistakes."

The son of "the toughest, most feared cop in town," he relied on his sporting ability to fit in with a wealthy crowd, he said. Dealing drugs kept him popular.

By the time he was 20, he was buying from a Mexican cartel, supplying Cicero mobsters and raking in more than $1 million a year, according to Hillel Levin, who co-wrote Keene's book. His customers included John Cappas, the brash Southwest Side dealer who infuriated the FBI by taking a leggy female reporter and her camera crew out on Lake Michigan in his speedboat before turning himself in.

But as fast as Keene made money, the legitimate businesses he helped his father set up lost it. By the time federal agents busted through his front door in 1996, he'd been dealing for 15 years.

The 10-year sentence hit Keene hard. Worse was the effect on his father, who suffered a stroke.

Keene's best hope once he got out was the job at a mob restaurant that he'd been offered by his cellmate at Milan Correctional Center, outfit leader Frank Calabrese Sr.

Then, 10 months in, he met with the prosector who'd convicted him, Lawrence Beaumont.

"He threw this manila folder on the table," Keene said. "I flipped it open and all of a sudden there's a picture of a dead girl, and then another." The pictures of the bodies were followed by a series of yearbook photos of smiling girls.

"All through my trial, they never got me to crack, and I thought, now they're gonna say they can tie me to a murder conspiracy," Keene said. "I thought it was a trick to get me to give up the mafia people, the cartel people, possibly my dad."

Beaumont instead explained that another defendant he'd prosecuted, a Civil War buff called Larry Hall, had been convicted of killing one of the girls, Jessica Roach, but was suspected of killing as many as 20 other women. Hall was being held at the maximum security psychiatric prison hospital in Springfield, Mo., but was appealing and could walk free, Beaumont said. If Keene could win new evidence against Hall, Beaumont would ask a judge to release Keene.

"I wasn't sure I could do it," Keene said. "I'm not a serial killer hunter. If someone said to you, go to a prison undercover where anyone could kill you at any moment, pretend to be someone else and get inside this serial killer's head, what would you think?"

But Beaumont told Keene he "had social skills that could take me from the street to the board room," Keene said.

He spent months secretly studying Hall's file at night while he waited to be transferred, reading by the "itty-bitty bit of light that came through the bars."

Undercover mission

To avoid suspicion, Keene's FBI handlers urged him to avoid Hall for six months. But an hour after arriving in Springfield, he found himself facing Hall in the food hall and decided to "wing it."

Resisting the temptation to beat a confession out of Hall, he blurted, "I'm new around here, do you know where the library is?" Keene said. "He told me and I said, 'Thanks I appreciate that from a cool guy like you,' and he bugged his eyes out like Charlie Manson and said, 'You think I'm cool?' "

By luck or instinct, Keene stumbled on a winning approach. Hall, a misfit who'd grown up in a cemetery, wore odd muttonchop sideburns and had no luck with women, was unpopular even in prison. "I was a better looking, cooler version of his big brother," Keene said.

Soon there was another problem. New York mob boss Vincente ''The Chin'' Gigante warned Keene to stop hanging around Hall and his circle of 'Baby Killer' buddies.

"I had to have a different face for Larry, for the guards, for the Mafia, for the FBI and my family," he said.

And Hall proved tough to crack. For months he claimed he'd been convicted of selling guns, not murder. Telling Hall his mother read about the Jessica Roach case in the paper got Keene past that block. Sticking up for Hall in fights and sympathizing with his misogyny cemented the bond.

Four months after Keene arrived in Springfield, Hall finally confessed how he found Roach at the side of a road, knocked her out with a rag soaked in starter fluid, then "blacked out" and raped her in the back of his van, before strangling her with a belt.

A couple of days later, Hall explained how he killed a second girl, Tricia Reitler, after she rejected his sexual advances. Again he claimed he'd blacked out while he raped and killed her.

"He told me he would be hovering over the top of them watching himself do it and then he'd wake up next to them and they'd be dead," Keene said. "When you're in there with him alone and he starts going into deep bizarre details, there's no question -- he's a killer."

The final breakthrough came when Keene snuck into the prison woodshop and found Hall.

"He had this map of Illinois and Indiana laid out with little red dots on it and 10 or 12 of these little wooden statues of falcons that he'd made exactly alike," Keene said. "As soon as he saw me he freaked out and covered up the map. I picked up one of the falcons but he freaked out, saying 'Give me it back!' He was holding it like a little baby and he said, 'They watch out for the dead Jim, do you want one?' "

"Immediately I realized that's where all the dead bodies are."

That night, convinced he at last had enough evidence, Keene marched into Hall's cell and told him, "I know everything you've done and I think you're one f---ed up piece of s---."

It was a critical error.

Keene was woken the next morning by 10 guards and Hall's furious psychiatrist, who threw him in solitary confinement.

"After a week I started worrying I'd be trapped forever," Keene said. "I was all scraggly looking and I was shouting, 'Listen to me, you're going to think I'm crazy -- but I'm working with the FBI!' "

Keene's psychiatrist -- the only person in prison who knew his true mission -- had gone on vacation. By the time he returned, Keene had been in the hole more than a month.

Keene bounced around the system a few more weeks and passed a lie detector test before he was finally released Feb. 24, 1999.

Days later, Hall's appeal was rejected. Keene would not have to testify, after all.

For prosecutors -- and Keene -- it was a frustrating end. Though Hall will die behind bars, the delay getting Keene out of solitary confinement gave Hall time to get rid of the map and the falcons, which have not been recovered. Tricia Reitler's body has not been found and the murders in at least eight other states Hall is suspected of remained unsolved.

"Jimmy was an intelligent kid," Beaumont -- now a defense attorney -- remembers. "He probably took it a little too far in the end for it all to work out."

The temptation to add a happier ending to the Hollywood version of Keene's story will likely be intense. All Keene will say is that a love interest has been added.

His early release allowed him to spend several years with his father, who died of a heart attack in 2004.

He's now in the property business, living on the income from Paramount, working on other movie deals and is mostly unrepentant about his time dealing drugs, if not the shame he brought on his family.

"I'm the same character I always was, but my direction in life has completely changed," he says. "Now it's time to tell my story."

NEWS: (Chicago) Police, National Guard unveil awards in slain officer's name

--What an awesome tribute--

Chicago Tribune

Celebration of awards timed with Bears-Packers rivalry; Wortham served in Chicago, Wisconsin

By Annie Sweeney, Tribune reporter

8:35 PM CDT, September 27, 2010

There might not be much Bears and Packers fans can agree on, especially with the two undefeated teams knocking heads Monday night.

But Chicago police and National Guard officials found at least one thing — the legacy of Thomas E. Wortham IV.

Wortham was a Chicago police officer and a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard when he was fatally shot in May outside his parents' home in the Chatham neighborhood.

He had just returned from a tour in Iraq to work in the embattled Englewood District. While off-duty, he also worked with others in Chatham to address violence around his parents' home.

On Monday, Chicago police and the National Guard announced awards in Wortham's name. Two winners will be chosen each year — a member of the Guard and a Chicago police officer who has served in the armed forces.

"It's what Tommy was," said Officer Andrew Turner. "He was a police officer. He was a soldier."

Like Wortham, those honored must have contributed to their communities, authorities said.

"We have all come to know what he stood for, what he demanded of himself," police Superintendent Jody Weis said.

The announcement of the awards was timed with Monday night's Bears-Packers game. A group of Wortham's fellow guardsmen came from Wisconsin to join Chicago police for the announcement. Wortham's father, Thomas Wortham III, was invited to do the coin toss, and members of the Chicago police and the National Guard served together as the honor guard at the game.

Wortham's police and Army colleagues came up with the idea for the awards during his funeral. The Bears-Packers rivalry also came up, as did the team colors — Chicago blue and Packers green.

Because the colors also represent Chicago police and the Army, they will appear on the commendation ribbons.

"We've come to be friends across this border," said Staff Sgt. Daniel "Canada" Killam.

Monday, September 27, 2010

NEWS: Chicago's fallen firefighters honored at ceremony

Chicago Sun-Times

ROSEHILL CEMETERY | Ceremony cites 3 killed in action among 100 who died in last year

September 27, 2010
BY LEWIS LAZARE Staff Reporter/

Fittingly, dark gray clouds hung low Sunday morning over Rosehill Cemetery on the city's Northwest Side, where scores of firefighters, friends and relatives gathered to honor nearly 100 members of Chicago Fire Fighters Local No. 2 who had passed away or were killed in the line of duty over the last year.

Three firefighters who died in the line of duty -- Angelo J. Imparato, Scott R. Lietz and Christopher Wheatley -- were singled out for special recognition at this 28th annual memorial service, and flowers were presented to members of their families.

"The whole ceremony was quite impressive," said Jackie Lietz, mother of fallen firefighter Scott Lietz, who started out as a paramedic working for the city before becoming a firefighter. Lietz, who grew up in the Ashburn neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side, was killed by an explosion in an abandoned building where he was investigating a gas leak. Lietz was 47 when he died. He had been a firefighter for 18 years.

Sunday's ceremony was in front of a statue built in 1864 to honor fallen members of what was, at the time, an all-volunteer firefighting brigade in Chicago. A large American flag -- held aloft above the statue by the extended ladders of two Chicago Fire Department trucks -- fluttered dramatically in a brisk wind.

As the ceremony unfolded, speeches of thanks and tribute by Fire Department officers were punctuated with such songs as "The Star Spangled Banner," "How Bright Is the Day" and "Amazing Grace" -- all sung by Catherine O'Connell.

The Chicago Fire Department Pipes and Drums also performed, and retired Local No. 2 firefighter Robert Gay played "Taps."

Local No. 2 President Thomas E. Ryan served as master of ceremonies. "This is our way of remembering," said Ryan after the ceremony.

NEWS: Clemency Hearing Scheduled For Killer Of Chicago Police Officer

--This is one that needs to be stooped for sure.--

CPD Memorial

Submitted by John Gordon on Fri, 2010-09-24 12:06

    * Announcements

Inmate Ronnie "Mad Dog" Carasquillo has requested a clemency hearing which will be held on Friday, October 8, 2010.  At this hearing, Carasquillo's attorney and other supporters will appeal to Governor Quinn for his immediate release.

Clemency hearing details:
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street
Friday, October 8, 2010
0900 hours
Room 9-034

We are asking uniformed Chicago Police personnel to attend this hearing in support of PO Terrence Loftus, who was shot and killed by Carasquillo in October 1976.  Carasquillo, a member of the Imperial Spanish Gangsters street gang, has gained support in recent years from several politicians, including Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who was tentatively scheduled to attend the hearing on behalf of the inmate.  Until the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, FOP Lodge 7 and uniformed Chicago Police officers began attending en banc parole hearings in 2008, Carasquillo was very close to receiving enough votes from the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (IPRB) for release.

Please come out in support of this brave officer.  If you are unable to attend the hearing, consider writing clemency denial letters to Governor Quinn, Rep. Gutierrez or the Chairman of the IPRB, Adam Monreal. Click here to view the CPMF's letter to the IPRB.

We believe Judge Wilson's message was clear when he handed Carasquillo a 200-600 year sentence.

Incident Details

On October 10, 1976 at approximately 1:45 AM, Chicago Police Officer Terrence Loftus completed his tour of duty at the 014th Police District and began his drive home. At Fullerton and Central Park, which was the turf border between the Imperial Spanish Gangsters street gang and their rival, the Gaylords, Officer Loftus saw a hispanic youth, later identified as Edward Ramon, being chased by two white youths. Officer Loftus stopped his car and went to the aid of Ramon. Officer Loftus identified himself as a Police Officer. The white youths, who were Gaylords, told Officer Loftus that Ramon had a gun. Officer Loftus patted Ramon down, but didn’t find a weapon.

Officer Loftus was unaware that Edward Ramon, a member of the Imperial Spanish Gangsters street gang, had minutes earlier left a party the Imperial Spanish Gangsters were having at a house located at 3561 W. Fullerton, and that there were 40 to 50 people at that party, including Ronnie Carrasquillo also known as “Mad Dog” to his fellow gang members.

While Officer Loftus aided Ramon, someone at the party yelled that the Gaylords and the Gangsters were fighting down the street. People from the party ran into the street and began to beat the white youths. A patrolling police squadrol came upon the scene. Officer Louis Bergmann saw the gang fight, stopped the squadrol, called for assistance and turned on the blue emergency lights of the squadrol.

Ronnie “Mad Dog” Carrasquillo had come to the party armed with a .22 caliber handgun. Another Imperial Spanish Gangster, David Gonzalez, had come to the party armed with a .32 caliber Walther PPK semi automatic pistol, which he had purchased a week earlier from Ronnie Carrasquillo’s brother, Paul Carrasquillo who was also a Imperial Spanish Gangster. As Carrasquillo headed outside from the party, he told David Gonzalez to “let me have the gun, I know what to do”.  Carrasquillo then took the larger and more accurate .32 caliber Walther PPK semi-auto pistol from Gonzalez.

While the squadrol’s blue lights flashed and the uniformed police officers attempted to stop the gang fight, Ronnie Carrasquillo leaned over a parked auto to steady his aim. He was warned by a fellow gang member not to shoot because of the police presence. Instead, he held the .32 caliber pistol with both of his hands, his arms straight in front of him, his eyes level with the sight of the gun. Ronnie Carrasquillo ignored the warning, and fired four carefully aimed shots in rapid succession. One of those fired bullets struck Police Officer Terrance Loftus on the left side of the face at about nose level and exited the right back side of the head. The entrance and exit wounds were at about the same level.

PO Terrence Loftus, who was holding onto Edward Ramon, collapsed to the ground. Officer Bergmann came to his aid and saw that both of Officer Loftus’ handguns were still holstered. Police Officer Terrance Loftus died two days later from the gunshot wound which had severed his spinal cord.

After shooting Officer Loftus, Ronnie “Mad Dog” Carrasquillo fled, and took the murder weapon and his own .22 caliber handgun to a friend’s home where the guns were hidden. Throughout the course of the night, “Mad Dog” Carrasquillo bragged to his friends that he had “shot a pig”.

The next morning Ronnie Carrasquillo was arrested. Carrasquillo told the police that he shot Officer Loftus because he had a gun pointed at some friends. Carrasquillo then took the police to where he had hidden the murder weapon. There the police found and recovered the .32 caliber semi-automatic Walther PPK used by Carrasquillo to murder Officer Loftus. Also recovered from this location were Carrasquillos’ .22 caliber handgun and a variety of pistols, rifles, shotguns, rifle scopes, gun powder and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

At trial, Carrasquillo contradicted his statement to the police when he testified that he saw the police and that he saw no one other than himself display or shoot any weapons on the street. He testified that he was aiming at the top of the YMCA building behind Officer Loftus, but the physical evidence proved this to be a falsity. In addition to the straight path of the bullet through Officer Loftus’ head, two other bullet holes were found in the windows of the YMCA behind Officer Loftus. Officer Bergmann estimated these holes to be, one at 8 or 9 feet off the ground and the other at 12 to 14 feet off the ground.

Judge Frank Wilson found Ronnie “Mad Dog” Carrasquillo guilty of murdering Police Officer Terrence Loftus, and sentenced Carrasquillo to 200 - 600 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

NEWS: 2 alleged false murder confessions for Waukegan police officer

Chicago Tribune

Hobbs interrogator teaches techniques across the country
By Dan Hinkel, Tribune reporter

4:17 AM CDT, September 25, 2010

Waukegan police Officer Domenic Cappelluti has made extra money sharing his expertise with police in departments across the country, teaching them how to interrogate suspects, investigate homicides and fight street gangs, according to the Web site that promotes his classes.

His online biography portrays him as a seasoned police officer and a one-time ranking member of an elite investigative unit.

What isn't advertised is his involvement with the interrogations of suspects who confessed to murders for which they are no longer charged. Within four years, Cappelluti was involved in at least two such cases.

Cappelluti interrogated Jerry Hobbs shortly before he confessed to stabbing his young daughter and her friend to death in May 2005. Though Hobbs recanted, the confession sent him to jail for five years before DNA evidence linked the crime to another man and the charges were dropped.

Cappelluti also was involved in a 2009 case in which a suspect confessed, only to be cleared of the charges. That former suspect is now suing the police officer and the city of Waukegan, claiming Cappelluti coerced his confession.

"Obviously, he's good at getting confessions," said Steven Drizin, legal director of Northwestern Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions. "But he's not good at being able to tell a true confession from a false confession."

Along with his main job — for which he was paid more than $100,000 in 2009, according to city records — Cappelluti and other officers affiliated with the same company have traveled the state and country, training police and holding community meetings about street gangs, according to online ads and news clips.

Topics in a class in which Cappelluti and another officer are listed as instructors include "getting confessions from hard-core gang-bangers," according to an online ad.

Cappelluti "teaches homicide investigation and interviewing and interrogation to law enforcement officers and federal agents across the country," the company Web site says.

The classes are held under the title Gang Combat Dynamics, and payments go to a Lake County-based company, Public Grants & Training Initiatives. The woman who owns that company declined to comment.

Since the start of 2009, the company has been paid almost $30,000 for Gang Combat Dynamics classes by North East Multi-Regional Training, a publicly funded group that organizes Chicago-area police training, according to agency records.

Lake Zurich police Cmdr. Kevin Finlon said he attended a one-day seminar taught by Cappelluti on policing gangs. He found the training valuable, saying officers gave the company "very positive" reviews. The company also has drawn good feedback from North East Multi-Regional Training staff, said agency Director Phil Brankin.

Cappelluti, who is now ranked as a patrol officer, is a good police officer, said Waukegan police Chief Dan Greathouse. He is a 15-year-veteran of the department, according to state records, and was once a detective on the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.

In addition to involvement in the false-confession cases, Cappelluti, 36, has faced three federal lawsuits since July 2007 accusing him of violating the plaintiffs' civil rights. All of the suits were settled, according to court records.

Numerous attempts to reach Cappelluti for this story were unsuccessful. His lawyer said he did nothing wrong and remains in good standing at the department.

"People get blamed for all sorts of frivolous things," said attorney Ellen Emery, who also represents the city.

Professor Richard Leo of the University of San Francisco noted that false confessions can cost taxpayers dearly. Locally, Kevin Fox and his wife, Melissa, were awarded $8 million in a civil lawsuit after DNA cleared him of murdering his 3-year-old daughter in Will County in 2004. Fox confessed falsely.

Though mental illnesses and cognitive disabilities have led to false confessions, the interrogation tactics that officers learn are a key cause, experts say.

A long interrogation in which detectives tell a suspect, as was the case with Hobbs, that police are certain of his or her guilt sends a message — there is only one way out of the interview room, said Saul Kassin, a psychology professor at John Jay College in New York.

Kassin said he would consider any officer with two false confessions in his recent past to be "problematic."

In the Hobbs case, Lake County prosecutors have argued the detectives did nothing wrong, noting that a judge ruled the confession admissible. A lawyer for Hobbs is investigating possible civil rights violations.

Almost immediately after Hobbs reported finding his 8-year-old daughter and her 9-year-old friend riddled with stab wounds in a Zion park in May 2005, detectives started questioning him.

Hobbs was interrogated intermittently by at least six officers over nearly 24 hours, according to court records.

Cappelluti testified that he was wearing a rosary when he entered the windowless room with Hobbs shortly after midnight of the second day of questioning. Hobbs told Cappelluti he believed in God, and the detective offered to pray with him.

The officer prayed aloud, emphasizing the gruesomeness of the crime and asking God to speak to Hobbs and "make him realize that it was time for him to confess or tell the truth," according to court testimony.

Cappelluti's aim, he said, was to get Hobbs to talk about the killings.

"My objective is to continue the rapport," Cappelluti testified. "And since he is cooperative, we are going to continue to talk to him until he tells us he killed his daughter, because that is what we felt."

Cappelluti, who was accompanied by another detective during some of his time with Hobbs, left the room about 3:45 a.m., he testified. After another hour with a detective who had questioned him earlier, Hobbs confessed, records show.

"I did it," he said. "Just write it down. Start this thing and send me to the judge."

Prosecutors planned to seek the death penalty, but dropped the charges in August after DNA led police to another man.

In the second case involving Cappelluti, the original suspect, Calvon Walker, and his lawyer said the investigation into the killing of Jonathan Quebrado went drastically wrong.

After Quebrado was shot dead in Woodard Park in March 2009, police arrested a 14-year-old suspect who identified Walker as another of the teen's assailants, say lawyers in the criminal and civil cases surrounding the killing.

During questioning by Cappelluti and other detectives, Walker denied he was at the park, but Cappelluti accused him of the killing repeatedly, Walker said. The Zion man has a history of legal trouble dating to adolescence, including a conviction for carrying a gun, court records show.

Hoping he would be allowed to call his family, Walker confessed and gave a video-recorded statement, he said. Cappelluti wrote in a police report that Walker gave him a detailed confession, but Walker said he guessed at the details because he felt pressured.

He told Cappelluti, Walker said, that he only confessed so he could make his phone call.

"I said, 'You know this is a lie that I told you, and I wasn't even there,'" Walker said.

Cappelluti signed a complaint accusing Walker of murder, and Walker was held in lieu of $2.5 million bail, according to records.

His grandmother, Jackie Fort, said her grandson had an alibi. He had been at a restaurant in Gurnee with dozens of members of his church when the crime was committed, she said, and Fort alleges she told Cappelluti this before her grandson was charged.

Detectives and prosecutors reviewed the evidence and interviewed witnesses, said Fort, the family's lawyer and other lawyers in the case. Two weeks after Walker was charged, prosecutors dropped the case. The juvenile suspect has pleaded guilty to the shooting, and a second man awaits trial.

Prosecutors did not return calls for comment.

Emery, the lawyer for Waukegan and Cappelluti, said the officer would have been remiss if he hadn't investigated Walker after his identification by the other suspect. The interrogation was not coercive, she said.

Cappelluti does not have a history of eliciting false confessions, she said. "People confess all the time to things, and you need to talk to a psychiatrist or a psychologist about why it wasn't (coercive)," she added.

Former Washington, D.C., detective Jim Trainum himself took a false confession in a murder case and now studies the problem. Some false confessions are coerced by bad cops, but others are the product of widely taught, albeit questionable, techniques, he said.

"You're under pressure to get that confession. And once you get it, it's very hard to admit … that you made a mistake," he said.

Walker is relieved his confession didn't cost him his freedom for five years, as it did Hobbs. As he sat in jail, he feared it could cost him a lifetime.

"I thought," he said, "I was going to be railroaded and never see daylight again."

NEWS: (National) 10 States Sell Half of Imported Crime Guns

Posted: September 27th, 2010 09:14 AM EDT

The Associated Press


Nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines and were used in crimes in 2009 were sold in just 10 states, according to a report being released Monday by a mayors' group.

Those states accounted for nearly 21,000 guns connected to crimes in other states, said the survey by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an association of more than 500 mayors led by New York's Michael Bloomberg and Boston's Thomas Menino.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced more than 145,000 guns used in crimes in 2009 and found that more than 43,000 of those weapons were sold in other states.

Forty-nine percent of those guns were sold in Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California or Arizona.

States were also ranked by the number of crime guns exported per 100,000 inhabitants. Mississippi led that list, followed by West Virginia, Kentucky, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada and Georgia.

Those states, the report said, have more relaxed gun laws, suggesting that "criminals and gun traffickers may favor certain states as the sources of guns."

For example, in states that do not require background checks for handgun sales at gun shows, the crime-gun export rate was two-and-a-half times as much as the rate in states that do require such checks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Oak Brook Finance Board "Fire one fireman a month"

I could not believe this when I got it. This is a real audio recording from the September 22, 2010 Citizens Financial Advisory Committee. I do not know who makes the comments about firing one fireman a month but he should definitely be exposed for what he is.

One would almost have to think that these comments while not only making them civilly liable, especially when they laugh about this, but the insunation that the courts would then be complicit in such actions has to border on the criminal.

This is just another example of politicians trying to lay the blame on the public servants for their own mistakes.

Thanks to Statter911 for hosting the shortened clip.


NEWS: New Chicago DEA head targets drug activity across area

Daily Herald

By Ted Cox | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 9/26/2010 12:02 AM

The suburbs face more Mexican drug-trafficking activity as smugglers use "tactics to fit in" with the general immigrant population and avoid conventional areas of high scrutiny like the inner city, according to the new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Chicago.

"This is what makes me sick," said Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the DEA's Chicago bureau. "When I see the hardworking other Mexican population being used by these people, it gets me."

Riley, who returned to the city this summer to head the bureau where his career started 25 years ago, previously ran the DEA in El Paso, Texas, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, center of some of the most violent activity by the Mexican drug cartels.

Riley said the Chicago area is a distribution hub for the Mexican cartels, along with Atlanta, Houston and Los Angeles, while New York and much of the East Coast remains in control of Colombian and Dominican drug organizations.

"The Mexican cartels are the most violent organized-crime group in the world," Riley said. He said he's been charged to "take the lessons learned at the Southwest border and bring them back to Chicago."

Among those lessons are that hard drugs are no longer primarily an inner-city problem and that they're popping up in suburbs where they're least expected precisely because that's where they're least expected.

For example, the DEA, Arlington Heights police and other suburban departments broke up a crack and cocaine supply ring in April that had operated for a decade, funneling drugs from a base in Jalisco, Mexico. Nearly two dozen people were charged in the so-called Dial-A-Rock case.

"It's a regional problem," Riley said. "It's not just a Chicago issue. It's a Midwest issue."

The Chicago DEA bureau also is assigned to oversee the entire state of Illinois along with Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. Riley emphasized that across that region hard drugs are no longer concentrated in larger cities.

"We're seeing suburban kids, for the first time, introduced to cheap, highly potent heroin, being produced by the Colombians, trafficked by the Mexican organizations," he said. "And for the first time it doesn't need to be injected. People are smoking it and snorting it, much like cocaine.

"So it's attracting a completely separate user base, which is very unfortunate," Riley added. "I think we've had something in every decent suburb around. I know the western suburbs have had some issues recently."

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart confirmed his force has seen increased drug activity in the suburbs, starting with routine traffic stops that turn up passengers with "ungodly amounts of cash on them," he said. "When we then do our work backward, we come across these very nice houses in suburban Cook County that are owned by people with really no discernible source of income."

In June, Dart's officers seized marijuana worth $20 million from a home in Lyons, calling it one of the biggest cannabis busts in his department's history. The drugs originated in Mexico, Dart's office said.

Riley emphasized that vigilance is required not just by law-enforcement agencies, but neighbors as well.

"This is why neighborhoods need to pay attention," he said. "If it doesn't look like it's supposed to be there, it probably needs to be looked at."

Both said the cartels form alliances with local gangs for street-level distribution, and those too are expanding into the suburbs.

"It isn't as if the gang members sit around and have a map in front of them and say, 'Oh boy, that's Harlem, that's the suburbs, we can only go up to Harlem. We're a city gang,'" Dart said. "They trickle over into the suburbs all over the place, and they jump over suburbs into other places. It's always a question of opportunity, it's a question of expanding their base ... They want to sometimes be closer to their customers."

Both emphasized that makes a unified approach across jurisdictions essential, and Riley praised the communication and teamwork between the various federal and local law-enforcement agencies working in and around Chicago.

"We're all so overwhelmed," Dart said, "the last thing we have time for is to say, 'He's getting more credit than me.' Nobody has the luxury to do that any more."

"We're going back to human intelligence," Riley said, "the old gumshoe way of doing things," with the goal of "completely dismantling organizations" devoted to drug trafficking, from the cartels to street gangs and everything in between.

NEWS: (Illinois) Does governor's race mean death penalty moratorium at an end?

Daily Herald

By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 9/26/2010 12:02 AM

The moratorium on executions in Illinois has existed as a purely political animal since former Gov. George Ryan commuted all death sentences to life terms in January 2003.

Fifteen men - including one who raped and murdered a Rolling Meadows college student - have been put on death row since then, but none has been executed.

That could all change come November, depending on who is elected governor.

If the moratorium is lifted, the man convicted of the June 2001 rape and murder of Rolling Meadows native and Eastern Illinois University student Shannon McNamara stands first in line to be executed. In February 2003, Anthony Mertz, now 34, was handed the first death sentence after Ryan granted blanket clemency.

Only one of the four candidates running for governor - Republican state Sen. Bill Brady - wants to lift the 10-year moratorium and resume executions.

Brady "supports the death penalty and its reserved use for the most heinous of murders," campaign spokeswoman Patty Schuh said.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn asserted support for the moratorium - and the death penalty in certain cases.

Quinn has upheld the moratorium first put in place by Ryan and continued by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, after a growing number of death row inmates were exonerated of crimes. The ban itself was sparked, in part, by the prosecution of the wrong men for the 1983 murder of a 10-year-old girl from Naperville.

Quinn spokesman George Sweeney said Quinn has no immediate plans to lift it, and wants adequate safeguards in place to assure no innocent person is put to death. He did not reveal how long he thought that could take.

Neither Quinn nor Brady responded directly to questions of whether they would back specific laws raising the standard of proof in sentencing someone to death.

Brady would "honor the law of the land and ensure that every safeguard is taken to ensure the integrity of the system - and that no innocent person is put to death."

Still, Sweeney said, Quinn supports the death penalty in some instances, something that "may be an appropriate punishment for particularly heinous crimes, such as murder or terrorism." The death penalty, he said, "underscores our shared belief as a society that some crimes deserve the most severe punishment, when meted out fairly and justly."

Green Party candidate Rich Whitney and Independent Scott Lee Cohen both say they completely oppose the death penalty.

Whitney says he believes the criminal justice system is "necessarily imperfect, infused with racial bias and class bias. People make mistakes. Juries make mistakes. ... In addition, although the argument is often made that capital punishment is a deterrent for committing a crime, I don't think it acts that way - it sends a message that under certain circumstances it is acceptable to take a human life."

Whitney said he applauds governors who have maintained the moratorium, but "the time has come to take the next step and (repeal the death penalty) by legislative enactment."

Similarly, Cohen said the state has "seen too many cases where evidence has either been falsified (or) confessions have been coerced or even worse. As long as there's the possibility of innocence, we don't have a right to put the suspects or the people to death."

The moratorium on executions is an order by the governor's office. Illinois law still provides for the death penalty, but moratorium means the state does not carry it out.

It was first put in place in January 2000 by Ryan. Citing the wrongful prosecution of Rolando Cruz for the 1983 murder of Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, Ryan declared a statewide moratorium on executions. Three years later, as he was leaving office, Ryan cleared out death row - changing the sentences of more than 150 inmates to life in prison.

Illinois' next governor, by law, can lift the moratorium without a vote by the General Assembly.

That is, as long as the legislature does not vote to repeal the death penalty first.

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty recently kicked off a campaign - making stops in Schaumburg, St. Charles and Naperville in recent weeks - to push for a repeal of the law reinstated in 1974.

Two Democrats - state Sen. William Delgado of Chicago and Rep. Karen Yarbrough of Maywood - have sponsored legislation that would do just that. Delgado's piece of legislation currently sits in a committee. Yarbrough's passed out of committee March 5 but has not been called for a vote, which indicates that she may not yet have enough support for the measure.

Coalition organizers say they believe momentum is building, especially as a spotlight is put on the cost of keeping an inmate on death row compared to the much less expensive cost of prison for life without parole.

Since 2003, the group points out, Illinois taxpayers have spent more than $100 million on the Capital Litigation Trust Fund, which pays the cost of litigating death penalty cases - despite the moratorium blocking all executions.

They also point to figures in other states that put the cost of death sentences at eight to 10 times the cost of life in prison.

The governor has an opportunity to veto any legislation passed by both houses of the General Assembly. That veto can be overridden by a three-fifths majority (or supermajority) from both houses.

The coalition's nonprofit status means it cannot endorse any candidate, Director Jeremy Schroeder said. With that in mind, both major party candidates for governor give the coalition pause for some concern. So does the fact that none of the four candidates for governor has been outspoken on the death penalty. None list their positions on their websites.

"With Brady saying he would lift the moratorium, and Quinn still looking at the issue, both of those answers point to the need of continuing our efforts," Schroeder said.