I wonder what this type of incident does to their professional credibility in court, etc?--
Story at Chicago Tribune
|Timothy Veit, shown here in 2011, has been accused by the federal government of padding DUI arrest reports to get grant money. (City of Des Plaines)|
10:40 AM CDT, April 16, 2013
The Des Plaines Police Department handed out suspensions today to 13 officers who the department said were found to have violated department rules and regulations in connection with an internal investigation into misreporting of DUI arrests to obtain overtime pay from a federally funded grant.
The 13 officers — 12 assigned to the patrol division and one in the detective division — were not named in a release announcing the disciplinary action.
They face suspensions ranging from seven days to 60 days, officials said.
In February, Police Chief William Kushner announced that the department's internal investigation concluded that several officers violated department rules and policies in connection to the department’s handling of a federally funded grant designed to catch drunk drivers and seat-belt violators.
That internal investigation took place independent of a federal investigation into how the department managed the grant.
In 2011, Des Plaines was awarded $116,190, the third-largest Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program grant in the state. The department had taken in $22,504 as of last March, when city leaders told the Illinois Department of Transportation that paperwork submitted for the grant might have included arrests made by officers who weren't actually working on grant-funded time, IDOT officials have said.
IDOT cut off the grant and allowed Des Plaines to investigate. The former commander who oversaw the program retired shortly after the grant was suspended.
That commander, Timothy Veit, 55, pleaded not guilty in February to federal charges of knowingly and intentionally inflating the number of DUI arrests made under the grant program, allowing the department to fraudulently obtain almost $133,000 in grant money.
He is charged with one felony count of making false statements.
Some of the 13 officers disciplined in the department's internal investigation profited from their involvement in the “scheme to misrepresent their participation in grant-funded enforcement activity,” police officials said in today's release.
Those officers are required to repay anywhere from $184 to $787, officials added. The release did not specify how many officers were ordered to pay restitution.
The 13 officers were found to have violated several police department rules and regulations, including “conduct unbecoming,” “knowledge of laws and regulations,” “obedience of laws and regulations,” “reporting violations of laws, ordinances, rules or orders,” “obedience of an unlawful order” and “truthfulness,” officials said.
“When we began this investigation, we said we would be aggressive, thorough and follow the facts,” Kushner said in the release. “We also said that if officers were found to have violated our policies, they would be held accountable. That is exactly what we did.
“While this is certainly an unpleasant conclusion to a very unfortunate episode, we are eager to move forward. Now that we have issued discipline and held officers accountable, I believe we are one step closer to putting this matter behind us for good.”
Suspensions for the 13 officers are effective today, officials said. The department is working to ensure that shifts are fully covered while those suspensions occur, Kushner said, adding that he “expects no adverse impact on public safety.”