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

Officer Down

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lyons Police Officer Facing Federal Robbery Charge

--Makes me just shake my head.
Case # 13-CR-00770
I have made the complaint available -->>HERE<<--

FBI Press Release

FBI Chicago September 30, 2013    
Special Agent Joan Hyde (312) 829-1199

CHICAGO—An officer with the Lyons Police Department (LPD) whose duties included investigating the sale of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes has been charged with robbing and extorting targets of his investigations. The charge was announced today by Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Jimmy J. Rodgers, 43, was charged in a one-count criminal complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago with Hobbs Act robbery, a felony offense. The complaint was unsealed following Rodgers’s court appearance Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown. Rodgers was released pending his next court appearance, which has not yet been scheduled.

According to the complaint, Rodgers, who was also assigned to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) task force, recruited a cooperating source to assist in setting up transactions in which the source would sell contraband cigarettes to potential targets. The complaint states that Rodgers agreed to pay the source a fee for each transaction the source conducted. The complaint describes two such transactions between the source and targets, for which the source was provided a Village of Lyons check to pay for his services. The complaint alleges the source engaged in subsequent transactions and was paid in cash from money paid to the source during the transactions. The transactions between the source and Rodgers were reported by the source to the FBI last June.

At the direction of the FBI, the source recorded conversations and meetings with Rodgers in connection with another contraband cigarette transaction with a potential target. The complaint alleges that on July 30, the source received $11,280 from the target in exchange for 300 cartons of cigarettes and was told by Rodgers to keep $3,280 of that amount. The source was also given 30 cartons of cigarettes to pass to another source, who helped arrange the transaction with the target. In a recorded meeting a few days later, Rodgers allegedly acknowledged that he was not supposed to pay the source from the proceeds of the transactions and instructed the source to say that all payments to the source were by way of a check from the police department. An FBI agent subsequently reviewed the report of the July 30 transaction filed by Rodgers and noted that the report did not mention the seizure of cash from the target. LPD had no record of Rodgers turning in $8,000 from the transaction.

Mr. Shields expressed his gratitude for the substantial assistance provided by both the Lyons Police Department and the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations during the course of this investigation.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Rodgers faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Lawmaker: Pension plan 'very likely' for veto session

--I am going to go out on a limb here and say that nothing is going to happen. There is absolutely no desire on the part of Springfield to properly fix the broken pension systems.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Rick Pearson
Tribune reporter
6:54 AM CDT, September 30, 2013

A key member of a legislative panel charged with finding a way to fill Illinois' worst-in-the-nation unfunded pension liability said Sunday that she believes it is "very likely" a plan to change state retirement benefits could be agreed upon to present to lawmakers next month.

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, the House Democratic point person on pensions, said the legislative conference committee examining solutions to Illinois' $100 billion public employee pension debt has continued its work unaffected by Gov. Pat Quinn's move to take away legislative salaries until a proposal reaches his desk.

Still, Nekritz said that regardless of any plan ultimately forwarded to the full General Assembly, she expects it will be challenged in court as unconstitutional.

"We're close enough where I think that there's a definite possibility we could take action in veto session," Nekritz said of the scheduled Oct. 22 return of the General Assembly.

"We have a few, what I would call, details to work out, but as in any negotiation, when you get to the end, the things that were not so significant in the beginning become big," she said in a WGN-AM 720 interview. "So, I'm not saying that the whole thing can't fall apart, and we'll be back to square one, but it's also very likely we could come to an agreement and be done in a couple of weeks."

Nekritz had been reluctant to predict the progress of the 10-member legislative panel's work. But she noted that the group has agreed on a framework that includes reducing 3 percent annual compounded cost-of-living adjustments in pensions to half of the consumer price index while reducing employee contributions.

While not giving specifics on outstanding issues before the panel, Nekritz said there are still ongoing discussions about whether there should be a minimum and maximum on annual pension increases based on inflation.

She acknowledged that the move for a 1 percentage point reduction in employee contributions to their pensions was aimed at meeting a state constitutional prohibition against diminishing or impairing public employee pension benefits.

Still, she said, "I don't think there's any way we can avoid being sued by the public employees — whether it be actives (current employees) or retirees."

Nekritz said Quinn's decision to veto legislators' salaries until a pension plan was sent to his desk "was a distraction and really did not serve to push or hinder the work of the conference committee."

On Thursday, a Cook County judge ruled Quinn violated the state constitution's prohibition against changing legislators' salaries during their elected term. The governor is appealing the ruling.

She said she had not spoken to anyone from Quinn's office since July on the progress of pension negotiations.

"I know it's been excruciatingly slow," she said of the work of the panel, which held its first meeting in mid-July. "I think every member of the pension (conference) committee would say that it's been excruciatingly slow, but that's just been the difficulty of this negotiation."

Nekritz acknowledged that public employees have paid their pension contributions while politicians for decades have not adequately paid the state's employer share.

But she said, "To me the most immoral thing that could happen is to say to someone, a 75- or 80-year-old retiree, 'I'm sorry, the system's broke. I can send you no check.' I would rather make the increases in their benefit going forward smaller and know that the system is secure so they know they're going to get a check in the future."

Trial begins today for 2 in cop's slaying

--Truly hope this is a short trial with the guilty outcome for the CPD and the officer's family.
We really need to bring back the death penalty in Illinois.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

Staff report
7:20 AM CDT, September 30, 2013

Two men charged in the West Englewood slaying of a Chicago police officer in 2009 are scheduled to go on trial today.

Kevin Walker and Christopher Harris are accused of killing Officer Alejandro "Alex" Valadez as he responded to a report of shots fired in the 6000 block of South Hermitage Avenue, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

A third defendent in the case, Shawn Gaston, is serving a 125-year prison sentence.

State's Attorney Anita Alvarez will serve as lead prosecutor during the trial, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

In Memoriam: Deputy Sheriff Dustin Hamilton


Deputy Sheriff Dustin Hamilton
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana
End of Watch: Friday, September 27, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 24
Tour: 2 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 9/27/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Deputy Sheriff Dustin Hamilton was killed in a vehicle collision on Joor Road, between Mickens Road and Lovette Road, at approximately 7:10 pm.

He had just completed an overtime detail when his patrol car collided with another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.

Deputy Hamilton had served with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office for two years.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux III
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office
8900 Jimmy Wedell Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
Phone: (225) 389-5055

In Memoriam: Detective Frank J. Lema, Sr


Detective Frank J. Lema, Sr.
United States Department of Defense - Naval Station Newport Police Department, U.S. Government
End of Watch: Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 70
Tour: 21 years
Badge # D10
Cause: Struck by vehicle
Location: Rhode Island
Incident Date: 9/26/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Detective Frank Lema was struck and killed by a government truck on-board the base at approximately 1:30 pm.

He was transported to a local hospital before being transferred to Rhode Island Hospital. He succumbed to his injuries approximately nine hours after being struck.

Detective Lema had served with the Naval Station Newport Police Department for 21 years after retiring as a captain with the Middletown Police Department. He is survived by his five children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

United States Department of Defense - Naval Station Newport Police Department
690 Peary Street
Building 1373, Simonpietri Dr
Newport, RI 02841
Phone: (401) 841-3241

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Judge rules against Quinn move to suspend lawmaker paychecks

"I don't know how to be governor. I don't know how I got elected. I just keep getting my but kicked by Mike Madigan and John Cullerton, you know, the guys that really run the state. I am just the head moron in charge"

--Why did I put this under a corruption tag? Having to use tax payer money to pay all the lawyers involved and then to pay interest on money owed?  Isn't that a misuse of tax payer money?--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Rick Pearson
Clout Street
2:39 PM CDT, September 26, 2013

A Cook County judge today ruled that state lawmakers should get their paychecks, striking a blow against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's move to suspend them until they come up a solution to the state's government worker pension issue.

Judge Neil Cohen's ruling comes after he heard arguments last week from lawyers for the legislative leaders and the Quinn administration. The fundamental question centered on the separation of powers in the state constitution: Is a governor's veto power unchecked, and can he use it to bend reluctant lawmakers to his way of thinking on an issue?

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton took the position that Quinn's paycheck move violated that principle. Quinn defended it. The divide underscored the tensions that exist in an often-dysfunctional Democrat-controlled state government.

"Comptroller (Judy Baar) Topinka is ordered to pay the members and officers of the Illinois General Assembly in accordance with the Public Act 98-64 and the General Assembly Compensation Act plus interest on any amounts that have been withheld," Cohen wrote at the end of his ruling.

Quinn suspended lawmakers' pay in July, and no paychecks went out in August and September. Lawmakers were seeking their paychecks plus interest. Quinn vetoed out lawmaker pay from the budget after repeated calls the past two years for quick action on reducing the state's worst-in-the-nation $100 billion unfunded pension liability for public workers went unheeded.

Quinn has refused to accept his pay while the public employee pension issue remains unsettled. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office has issued Quinn his paychecks, but he has not collected them, an aide to the comptroller said.

The hearing featured an array of constitutional arguments -- some highly technical -- over whether limitations exist to the governor's power to reduce or remove spending items after they are approved by lawmakers. It also involved questions of whether the lawsuit should proceed when legislators have an avenue to reject Quinn's action by convening and overriding his veto.

During the hearing last week, Attorney Richard Prendergast, arguing why the case should be heard without lawmakers first attempting to override, frequently referred to the General Assembly needing a two-thirds vote to overturn a governor's veto. The bar is not that high -- it takes only three-fifths of the House and Senate to override a veto under the state constitution.

Moreover, the chief deputy attorney general, representing the comptroller, did not tell the judge that his boss, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, offered some legal advice to Topinka after Quinn's veto. Madigan advised Topinka not to issue lawmaker paychecks because the comptroller lacked the spending authority in the new state budget year that began July 1.

Cohen indicated that his reading of the state constitution -- which he often called "the voice of the people" -- showed that a budget item vetoed by the governor should not be considered law until lawmakers have an opportunity to take action on it.

"Why can't I avoid any constitutional issues when Judy Baar Topinka should have issued the checks when she should have?" Cohen asked Brent Stratton of the attorney general's office. "Are you ready to concede she should issue the checks ... in which case we can end this case right now?"

Stratton told Cohen that Topinka was acting based on "historical practice" when budget lines are vetoed by governors and said it was an "unprecedented event" confronting the state comptroller.

The lead attorney representing Quinn, Steven Pflaum, told the judge that Topinka "did the right thing" by refusing to issue paychecks because she lacked "a lawful appropriation" to pay salaries.

Elgin police using social media to fight crime

--Law enforcement of the future--

Story at Daily Herald

By Elena Ferrarin

Kristie Hilton never thought that posting on Facebook and Twitter would become part of her daily tasks after more than 15 years with the Elgin Police Department.

The senior management analyst, who works in crime analysis plus mobile and records management systems, is responsible for posting on the department’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. She also created a Google+ account for the department, but it’s not in use yet.

“I do enjoy it,” she said. “It’s an extension of our community outreach. We’re trying to get a more open line of communication to them.”

Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said he’s always looking for ways to reach the community as much as possible.

The department posts news releases, information about everything from lost dogs to traffic accidents, and even security surveillance photos of crime suspects on Facebook.

Suspects’ photos are posted only after having “exhausted everything in house,” Swoboda said. “We will not post without the lead detective being OK with it.”

The page, approaching 1,800 likes, started to pick up in March after the murder of Elgin resident Lisa Koziol-Ellis, Hilton said. Koziol-Ellis’ neighbor, Paul A. Johnson, was charged with the crime and is awaiting trial.

The department jointed Twitter a few months ago and has 43 followers.

“It’s starting to get interactive, but it seems like Facebook is the one that people use the most. That’s where I’ve been focusing more,” Hilton said.

Elgin police is also on Pinterest, where it “pins” photos, articles about the department, Elgin-related community boards and more.

Hilton said she gets ideas from a few departments across the country — such as Philadelphia — that are extremely active on social media.

There’s an increase in anonymous tips whenever the department asks on Facebook for information about crimes, Swoboda said.

Still, it’s important to remember that 1,800 people are a small fraction of Elgin’s nearly 110,000 residents, he said.

“I don’t want to ever become reliant on any type of electronic conversation,” he said. “Nothing through the computer is ever going to replace the face-to-face interaction, and policing is something that’s done in person and talking to people.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

DuPage has one-third of state’s concealed carry instructors so far

--I would love to teach this class. 
Need to find a place close by looking for an instructor.--

Story at Daily Herald

By Mike Riopell

Nearly all the instructors approved so far to train Illinois concealed carry applicants are from the Chicago area, and one-third are from DuPage County.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said many more applications are in the approval process, where potential instructors must meet several criteria and go through background checks. So the number is likely to grow in the coming weeks.

Instructors who get state police approval can give people the 16 hours of training they’ll need to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Of the 54 approved instructors posted on the Illinois State Police website as of Monday morning, 18 are from DuPage County, eight are in suburban Cook County, five are in Will County, four are in Chicago and three are in Kane County. None so far are from Lake or McHenry counties.

Bond said the instructors could start providing training as soon as the state’s approved curriculum goes online, potentially next week. The police are expected to begin providing concealed carry applications in January, with permits available in the spring.

Information on local instructors is available at

Among the instructors approved so far is Gregory Coyle of Arlington Heights, a National Rifle Association instructor and former competitive shooter.

He said people have already found him online, but he can’t teach them without the curriculum. And he thinks there need to be a lot more instructors approved.

“I’ve got people calling me about training, and I can’t tell them anything yet,” Coyle said.

He said the 16 hours of training will be spent on safety and gun-handling instructions, as well as the details of Illinois’ sometimes-complicated new concealed carry law, which allows for carrying concealed, loaded handguns but also keeps a number of specific locations like bars and playgrounds off limits.

Gun advocates have looked forward to Illinois becoming the 50th state to allow concealed carry, and people wanting to carry legally will have to continue waiting for permits as the state continues to work to set up the program. Approving instructors is one of those steps.

“I think that this is a really important right,” Coyle said.

In Memoriam: Deputy Sheriff Daniel Rivera


Deputy Sheriff Daniel Rivera
Broward County Sheriff's Office, Florida
End of Watch: Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 32
Tour: 10 years
Badge # 12278
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 9/11/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Deputy Sheriff Daniel Rivera succumbed to injuries sustained 10 days earlier when he was involved in a single-vehicle crash along I-95, near Copans Road, in Pompano Beach.

He was en route to the police station at approximately 6:15 am when his patrol car left the roadway during a period of rain. The vehicle struck a tree on the passenger side, causing Deputy Rivera to suffer severe head injuries. He was transported to Broward Health North where he remained in critical condition until passing away on the night of September 21st, 2013.

Deputy Rivera had served with the Broward County Sheriff's Office for 10 years and was assigned to the Pompano Beach District Office. He is survived by his parents and siblings.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Sheriff Scott J. Israel
Broward County Sheriff's Office
2601 W. Broward Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Phone: (954) 831-8900

In Memoriam: Police Officer Jon Coutchie


Police Officer Jon Coutchie
Laguna Beach Police Department, California
End of Watch: Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 42
Tour: 6 years
Badge # Not available
Military veteran
Cause: Motorcycle accident
Incident Date: 9/21/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Police Officer Jon Coutchie was killed in a motorcycle accident at the intersection of South Coast Highway and Cleo Street while looking for a speeding vehicle that had evaded other officers.

His motorcycle was involved in a collision with a pickup truck in the intersection.

Officer Coutchie was a U.S. Army veteran. He had served with the Laguna Beach Police Department as a police officer for four years and had previously served with the agency as a part-time jailer for two years.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief of Police Paul Workman
Laguna Beach Police Department
505 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Phone: (949) 497-0701

Friday, September 20, 2013

CPD - Police sergeants get 8 percent raises over 4 years

--Politicians have screwed up the finances at every level in Illinois (local, city, and state).
It is a shame that we have allowed the politicians to be so wasteful with out hard earned tax money and that the penalty needs to be paid by our public servants.
In the grand scheme of things, right now, $125.00 per month is not a bad amount to have to pay when you consider that there are retirees paying upwards of $1500.00 a month for their health insurance.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

Some retirees will pay for health coverage

By Hal Dardick
Chicago Tribune reporter
6:02 PM CDT, September 19, 2013

Arbitrators have awarded Chicago police sergeants raises totaling 8 percent over four years, but their ruling also will require many new retirees to pay part of the cost of health care they now get free.

The three-member panel gave the city's 1,100 or so sergeants a tad more than the 7.5 percent increase the city had offered, according to a ruling released Thursday. The Chicago Police Sergeants Union had sought 11 percent increases.

The panel split the difference on health care insurance, requiring those ages 55 to 59 who retire after this year to pay 2 percent of their pension checks to that benefit. That's about $125 a month for sergeants who retire at the top pay level.

The city asked for 4 percent payments. The union wanted to keep free health care, which sergeants who retire at age 60 or older still will get. Those who retire before age 55 get city- and pension fund-subsidized health care that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration plans to phase out in a decision being contested in court.

The arbitrator "took both sides' arguments and came up with something in the middle on wages and health care," said Sgt. James Ade, union president.

The mayor was pleased with the ruling. "The arbitrator's award is a fair and balanced decision that recognizes the city's fiscal challenges by providing important financial relief to taxpayers while granting a modest but respectful wage adjustment for the members of the sergeants union," Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said in a statement.

But the union won arguments over supervisory duty stipends and tuition reimbursements, both of which the city had sought to cut back. Duty availability pay turned out to be a bit of a draw — it will not be diminished, but it also will not be increased for the first time in more than a decade.

The wage increases are retroactive to July 1, 2012 — a day after the previous contract expired. Paying those retroactive raises is expected to cost the city more than $2 million.

The much-larger Fraternal Order of Police, whose contract expired at the same time, continues to negotiate with the city, said Mike Shields, president of that organization. If the FOP or Chicago Firefighters Union were to get better raises, the sergeants would get the same deal because of a "me too" provision in the contract.

Talks between the city and FOP have been tense, in part because Shields has been an outspoken critic of Emanuel's efforts to reduce pension benefits moving forward.

The Emanuel administration contends it won't owe rank-and-file cops back pay for the first year of any new contract because the FOP missed a notification deadline for new talks. That matter is now before the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

Earlier this year, Shields opposed a new sergeants contract that came with a 9 percent salary increase and, more significantly, modifications to pensions that Emanuel called a "blueprint" for other union agreements as the mayor seeks to cut retirement costs. Although sergeants union leadership had signed off, membership rejected that contract proposal by a wide margin.

Lurking in the background of all the contract talks are Emanuel's efforts to make changes to the pension system, which the arbitrator's Thursday ruling does not affect. If the state does increase the required sergeants' contributions to the pension system, the sergeants' contract could be reopened solely on the issue of wages.

Like the rank-and-file police officers, Chicago firefighters are working without a contract after their last pact also lapsed June 30, 2012.

Firefighters Union Local 2 President Thomas Ryan was traveling to a firefighter memorial in Colorado and unavailable to comment Thursday. Ryan told the Tribune in the spring that "substantive talks" with the city had not taken place since late summer 2012.

Top cop on park shooting: 'Miracle there has been no fatality'

--Number one, it was NOT a military grade weapon. Please do not use these incidents to drive the Illinois and Chicago anti-gun political agenda.
That being said, this is a travesty of human behavior and steps must be taken to stop these type of incidents.
It is a miracle that no one was killed.
Everyone wants to whine and cry about their 2nd Amendment rights but no one wants to see laws put in place to try and curb this type of violence. 
Both sides of the gun argument are HYPOCRITES. Every last one of them.
I am a believer in the 2nd Amendment but I am a believer in protecting the innocent from this senseless violence.
The federal government needs to enact gun laws that make sense and tell the states to step aside. These illegal weapons are obtained through burglaries, thefts, and straw purchases. Just ask the drug dealer that goes to Indiana and buys $38,000.00 in weapons because they do not require background checks. And yes, this is a true statement from the convicted drug dealer himself.
If you commit a crime and it involves an illegal weapon you should be locked up, end of story. No probation, no first time offender niceties. Just go to jail--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Peter Nickeas and Jeremy Gorner
Tribune reporters
11:43 AM CDT, September 20, 2013

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said it was a "miracle" no one was killed when someone opened fire with a high-powered rifle at a pick-up basketball game in the Back of the Yards, and he renewed his call for a ban on assault weapons.

"A military-grade weapon on the streets of Chicago is simply unacceptable,"  McCarthy told a news conference this morning, 12 hours after a 3-year-old boy and 12 other people were shot during at Cornell Square Park.

"It's a miracle there has been no fatality," he said. "Illegal guns. Illegal guns. Illegal guns drive violence."

Police say at least one gunman walked up to the park's basketball court in the 1800 block of West 51st Street around 10:15 p.m. Thursday and opened fire. Thirteen people who were on the court or were watching the game were hit, many of them in the arms or legs.

The boy, Deonta Howard, was standing on the court and was shot near the ear, the bullet exiting through his cheek, according to police and relatives. His family said the boy is expected to recover but will need plastic surgery.

Three of those wounded, including Deonta, were in serious to critical condition this morning. The others ranged from serious to good condition, including a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl.

Police believe the shooting stemmed from an ongoing dispute between the Black P. Stones and Gangster Disciples, a law enforcement source said. It was not known if any of the victims were intended targets.

Police said they were questioning several people, but would not say whether any of them were suspects.

"I think it was like an AK," said one neighbor, describing the shooting. "Man, it was a lot of shots. Man, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. A little boy got hit in the face."

Another neighbor said he heard as many as 20 shots. "I was across the park and I heard the shots and I came over and there was a lot of people down. It happened so fast. They were just playing ball, like they do everyday."

The first paramedics found more than a dozen people lying across the rust-colored court. One person lay near a bicycle that was on its side. A pair of white gym shoes were left near an out-of-bounds line.

Ambulances continued to arrive a half hour after the shootings as wounded people were brought out of the park on stretchers. About 60 police officers converged on the park and crime lab investigators combed the scene.

Deonta was taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, police said. Nunn said her grandson, nicknamed Tay Man, is heavily sedated and will need plastic surgery.

“He tried to get up and go, he’s not trying to be pinned down by nobody,’’ she said.

“He’s not your average 3-year-old," Nunn said. "He’s very smart, he’s beyond his years. I don’t know if you’ve heard the saying, 'He’s an old soul.' That’s the best words to describe him. He’s an old soul.

“He's friendly for the most part, very outgoing, outspoken,’’ Nunn said. “He likes the limelight, he’ll let you know who he is."

The boy's older brother, Jamarrie Toney, 9, returned to the park with his aunt this morning and said he still hasn’t seen his brother.  “I just miss him,’’ he said.

Jamarrie, whose favorite subject at Beethoven Elementary is math, said he was at his aunt’s home across the street when he heard the shots.

”I just got up and ran to this gate,’’ Jamarrie said, pointing to the edge of the park. “My younger brother was on the floor,’’ he said, crying.

One of the other victims, a 37-year-old man shot in the leg, said he hanging out around the basketball court, as he and his friends normally do, when the shooting started.

“I turned around, I heard screaming,’’ he said. “I saw Tay Man." He paused. “I just saw his face.’’ He struggled again for words. "Just tore off. . .They almost shot his whole face off.’’

The man, who asked that his name not be used, smoked a cigarette as he leaned on a cane after being released from the hospital. Medical tape held down a piece of cotton gauze on his left arm, and he was missing the shoe from the leg where he had also been shot.

Asked if he was angry, the man replied, “I’m just grateful, grateful to be alive.’’

Mayra Rodriguez, 23, who lives in the area with her 2-year-old daughter, heard rapid gunfire and then saw people on the ground. “Good thing most of them got hit in the legs,’’ she said.

“That kid was playing, he didn’t even know nothing, it was out of nowhere,’’ she said of the 3-year-old.

Rodriguez said there was a fatal shooting in the park about two years ago, and she tries to avoid it.

Rodriguez and her mother, Elvia Gonzalez, 45, said they had heard gunfire earlier in the evening, around 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. Rodriguez said her daughter was playing outside at that time and Gonzalez grabbed the girl and ran inside the house.

As the two talked Thursday night, the 2-year-old girl walked toward the street from the parkway and peered around the corner toward 51st Street to watch the last ambulance leave. She rested one hand on her mother’s leg as she chewed a finger.

Earlier, as her mother spoke, the girl twirled around a light pole. She wore tiny gold hoop earrings, purple pants and a red T-shirt that read, "My heart belongs to Grandpa."

“She don’t even know. . .She’s just pointing at the light,’’ Rodriguez said.

Alejandro Cabada, 20, leaned out of his second-floor window near 50th and Wood streets about an hour after the shooting. He said he’s lived in the area for about seven years.

“Once I opened a beer can, I heard shots,’’ Cabada said. “I opened the fence in the back. They reversed up the alley and then toward Ashland, the car peeled out.’’

“A brown Malibu with tints dipped toward Ashland Avenue. . . A brown Malibu with its lights off was peeling off,’’ Cabada said. “Some young kid said they shot his little brother.

“That was pretty much it, I just seen bodies on the floor, I seen three officers carrying the little boy. I didn’t hear no sounds.’’

Relatives said the boy's uncle, Jerome Wood, was fatally shot in the Woodlawn neighborhood over the Labor Day weekend. The Rev. Corey Brooks, who presided over Wood's funeral, urged the shooter or shooters to surrender or face justice on the streets.

There are people who know exactly who the shooter is," he said, standing next to Nunn. "And I'm sure he will not be safe shooting 13 people."

As dawn broke today, broken glass could be seen strewn across the basketball court, along with discarded medical supplies, syringes without needles, plastic packaging, orange gloves and a bloody T-shirt.

But as of 8:15 a.m., the court had been cleaned up by personnel from Fire Engine 123.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was headed back to Chicago from Washington, D.C., where he was scheduled to meet today with Obama administration Cabinet secretaries on city issues, mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said. Emanuel flew to D.C. last night ahead of swing that also was supposed to include a political fundraiser for Democratic New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker.

Emanuel also released a statement this morning about the Back of the Yards shooting. "Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place in Chicago and betray all that we stand for. The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I encourage everyone in the community to step forward with any information and everyone in Chicago to continue their individual efforts to build stronger communities where violence has no place," the statement reads.

Before Thursday night's shooting, eight children under the age of 8 had been shot in Chicago over seven weeks.
Police listed the victims as:

• A 3-year-old boy, shot in the ear, in critical condition at Mount Sinai

• A 17-year-old girl, shot in the foot, condition stabilized at Holy Cross Hospital

• A 15-year-old boy shot in the arm, stabilized at Holy Cross

• A man, 27, shot in the leg and wrist, serious condition at Mount Sinai

• A man, 24, shot twice in the stomach, serious condition at Mount Sinai

• A man, 21, shot in the leg, serious condition at Mount Sinai

• A man, 41, shot in the buttocks, serious condition at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital

• A woman, 33, shot in the shoulder, condition stabilized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

• A man, 31, shot in the buttocks, condition stabilized at Northwestern

• A woman, 23, shot in the foot, condition stabilized at St. Anthony Hospital

• A man, 37, shot in the leg, in good condition at Stroger

• A man, 25, shot in the knee, in good condition at Northwestern

• And a man, 33, who drove himself to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park with a gunshot wound to the leg and who was treated and released.

Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributed

In Memoriam: Police Officer Rod Bradway


Police Officer Rod Bradway
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana
End of Watch: Friday, September 20, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 41
Tour: 5 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 9/20/2013
Weapon: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect: Deceased

Officer Rod Bradway was shot and killed while responding to a domestic dispute call in a northwest Indianapolis apartment complex. Upon arrival, Officer Bradway heard cries for help and made entry into an apartment where he came under fire and was mortally wounded.

Officer Bradway was able to return fire on the subject and is credited with saving the life of the domestic dispute victim. Officer Bradway was transported to Wishard Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds several hours later.

Officer Bradway was a five-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and is survived by his wife and two children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief Richard A. Hite
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
50 North Alabama Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 327-3811

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cook County judges fume over security checks at courthouse

--Judges, especially Cook County judges, can be extremely arrogant and place themselves above the the rest of us.
But I think they are kind of right in this situation.--

Story at Chicago Sun-Times and Better Government Association

Sep 18, 2013 12:12AM

Judges are supposed to maintain an even-tempered demeanor on the bench.

But off the bench, there appears to be a different standard at Chicago’s Leighton Criminal Court Building — where judges are so resistant to new security procedures at the outdoor lot where they park, they are sometimes angrily refusing to comply with Cook County Sheriff’s officers staffing the post, a review by the Better Government Association and Fox 32 found.

Until this past spring, judges and others using the fenced-in, razor wire-lined lot at 26th and California were able to breeze through a checkpoint staffed by the sheriff’s office.

Beginning in April, new procedures required everyone driving into the courts complex, including judges, to show their identification and open their trunks on the way in and out of the lot — creating a slight inconvenience, but bringing greater peace of mind knowing that inmates are in the courthouse every day and that Cook County Jail sits next door, according to the sheriff’s office.

Even so, the changes haven’t gone over well with many judges — some suspect that Sheriff Tom Dart instituted the new procedures not to enhance safety but to tweak Chief Judge Timothy Evans, with whom he’s been feuding.

While some judges are refusing to pop their trunks because they view such demands as an unwarranted invasion of privacy, others said they oppose the security changes because they don’t seem logical.

“Why are you checking [trunks] in the morning? Am I bringing in someone to escape?” one judge said in an interview, asking not to be quoted by name.

Some judges also have resisted showing their IDs to sheriff’s personnel on their way in and out of the lot.

This has made for some contentious encounters, including one in July when Judge Stanley Sacks was leaving for the day and refused to produce his identification — and then called 911 from his cellphone when he was told that he wouldn’t be allowed to leave the lot until he complied.

Sacks told the BGA he called 911 and relayed that he was being “unlawfully restrained.”

Another officer realized what was going on and let Sacks out before Chicago Police responded, Sacks said.

“He wouldn’t let me out. Was I going to sit there all night?” Sacks said.

Sacks also routinely refuses to open his trunk, but he said he’ll start doing so if Dart can explain how a prisoner was able to sneak a large knifelike object into a courtroom bathroom in May. The “shank” was discovered before it could be used. The inmate allegedly was planning to stab a prosecutor. Sacks said the incident represents such a bad breach of security it was the “tipping point” for him — he was emboldened to resist the new security requirements placed on judges.

Ben Breit, a spokesman for Dart, said the fact that sheriff’s personnel recovered the weapon before it could be used showed that the agency did its job.

Either way, Sacks wasn’t alone in vocally resisting security requirements. Incident reports kept by the sheriff’s office, and obtained by the BGA and Fox under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, indicated that:

◆ Judge Dennis Porter used the f-word in front of a sheriff’s officer while a passenger in a car driven by another judge on June 19. Sheriff’s paperwork had Porter saying, “I am the same judge I was this f - - - - - - morning. F - - - you.” But Porter said in an interview he didn’t say that. He acknowledged using the f-word but said it was out of exasperation and wasn’t directed at the officer. Porter said the officer also used profanity. Either way, the judge said he sought him out later and apologized.

◆ Judge James Linn refused to show his ID or open his trunk more than a dozen times in May and June, on one occasion telling an officer, “This is f - - - - - - ridiculous.” In an interview, Linn would say only, “I have no problems with the sheriff’s department. . . . I appreciate all they do to protect us every day.”

◆ Judge Peggy Chiampas refused several times to open her trunk for inspection by an officer, once reportedly yelling, “Do you have a warrant? Without a warrant, I will never open my trunk.” When the BGA reached her on the phone in recent days, Chiampas screamed at a reporter for calling her on her cellphone and hung up.

Overall, roughly a dozen judges — about a quarter of the judges in the courthouse any given day — are listed in sheriff’s office paperwork as being verbally abusive or otherwise uncooperative in regards to the security changes, records show.

Judges interviewed by the BGA said one of their main beefs is that the reasoning behind the security changes was not articulated.

While Dart’s aides have had conversations with select judges about this issue, several letters sent to Evans by the sheriff appear to have gone unanswered, records show.

Evans, who was recently re-elected chief judge by his colleagues, released the following written statement late Tuesday:

“When I learned of these new security procedures, I alerted our judges to the new procedures and asked them to adhere to them.

“When I was informed about these incident reports, I immediately reached out to the judges. Their recollections do not comport with what the Sheriff claims occurred.

“However, the judges also told me that they were very concerned that the Sheriff does not uniformly enforce his new security procedures. He stops judges but not UPS trucks or other vehicles.

“Especially after the horrible tragedy . . . in our nation’s capital, the Sheriff’s inconsistent application of his own security procedures is of even greater concern to me and the judges at 26th and California.”

Dart’s office countered with this statement:

“Judge Evans’ reaction is puzzling given that the only response we received was from judges who felt they shouldn’t be subjected to any security measures.”

Breit said the need for tighter security was realized after a broader security review. The judicial parking lot, the scene of an inmate escape some years back, was deemed too porous. He noted that all vehicle entry points to the court and jail complex now have the same security requirements. And he said Dart’s troubles with Evans — they’ve been at odds about the efficiency of the courts and crowding at the jail — had nothing to do with the decision-making on security.

While trunks aren’t searched in off-site parking areas used by the general public, visitors trying to enter the main building are often greeted by long lines leading to metal detectors, where sheriff’s police demand that visitors empty pockets and strip off belts temporarily.

Evans recently barred visitors from bringing in cellphones out of concern that gang members were snapping photos of witnesses, jurors or police in the courtrooms and corridors of the building.

This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Robert Herguth and Fox 32’s Dane Placko.

In Memoriam: Investigator Michael Dale Stockwell


Investigator Michael Dale Stockwell
Orange Beach Police Department, Alabama
End of Watch: Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 45
Tour: 20 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 9/17/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Investigator Mike Stockwell was killed in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of the Foley Beach Expressway and County Road 12, in Foley, at approximately 9:00 pm.

His unmarked department vehicle collided with another vehicle in the intersection. He succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle was uninjured.

Investigator Stockwell had served in law enforcement for 20 years.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief Billy Wilkins, Sr.
Orange Beach Police Department
4480 Orange Beach Blvd
Orange Beach, AL 36561
Phone: (251) 981-9777

In Memoriam: Sergeant Leonard Robert Luna, Jr.


Sergeant Leonard Robert Luna, Jr.
Hawthorne Police Department, California
End of Watch: Monday, July 8, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 42
Tour: 10 years
Badge # 328
Cause: Motorcycle accident
Incident Date: 7/8/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Sergeant Leonard Luna was killed in a motorcycle accident on I-105, near Long Beach Boulevard in Lynwood, while en route to pickup his issued motorcycle from the repair shop in Long Beach.

Another vehicle struck his motorcycle, causing him to suffer serious injuries. He was transported to St. Francis Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.

Sergeant Luna had served with the Hawthorne Police Department for 10 years and served as the agency's Traffic Bureau commander. He is survived by his parents and brother.

Average Chicago household owes $83,000 for City Hall debt

--This "per household" amount should be made into a per politician amount.
In Chicago, an argument could be made that former mayor Daley is responsible for almost every "per household" amount.--

Story at Crain's Chicago Business

September 17, 2013

The average Chicago household owes as much as $83,000 for unfunded pension liabilities and other City Hall debt — well over what the typical family makes in a year.

That's the discomforting bottom line in a new study on debts of the city of Chicago, Board of Education and other city governments being released today by the Illinois Policy Institute, a Chicago-based libertarian think tank.

Extending and elaborating on recent studies by others, the institute concludes that total debt of the city, other city government entities and the city's share of geographically larger units such as Cook County totaled at least $86.9 billion at the end of last year. About a third of the debt is in the form of long-term bonds for things like building roads and schools, and about two-thirds is money promised to workers for their retirement that the city's pension funds do not have on hand.

That $86.9 billion translates to $23,000 for each Chicagoan and $62,000 per household, by the institute's math.

But the total pension debt actually is $23 billion higher if, rather than using official figures, you use assumptions by Moody's Investors Service, which recently lowered the city's bond rating two notches, the report by institute Vice President of Policy Ted Dabrowski says. Including those assumptions, total debt comes to $32,000 per person and $83,000 for an average-sized household.

Moody's assumes that securities and other investments held by the city's pension funds will earn only 4 percent to 5 percent per year, half the 8 percent rates assumed by the pension systems themselves. Lowering the assumed rate of return raises unfunded liability, since less money will be on hand to pay pension and other retirement costs than had been expected.

By either calculation, the city's finances are cause for concern, the report says.

"Taxpayers should be worried," it states. "Chicago's fiscal squeeze is already threatening the city's ability to provide core services. CPS has laid off thousands of staff and closed nearly 50 schools, while the city's crime rate is among the highest in the nation."

It concludes, "When taxpayers stop receiving the services they are paying for, they'll leave. Chicago has already lost nearly 200,000 people since the 2000 census."

City labor unions — I'll work in some reaction after I get it later today — surely will respond that their members have paid what they were required to pay and are entitled to the full pension benefits mandated by law. But, consistent with similar recent reports from the Civic Federation, a tax watchdog group, there appears to be no question that the fiscal condition of the city's four retirement funds has dramatically worsened since 2006, a period that includes the deep recession of 2009-10 and the partial recovery since.

In 2006, the four funds collectively were $8.8 billion short of the assets needed to pay promised benefits, the report says. By 2012, the figure had more than doubled to $19.4 billion.

Put a different way, the collective funded ratio of assets to liabilities in the four retirement system dropped from 84 percent to 32 percent between 1998 and 2012, using Moody's assumptions on investment returns.


Other bond raters have not followed Moody's, at least not yet. And the firm assumes one rate of return for well-funded retirement systems and a lower figure for underfunded ones like Chicago's, report author Mr. Dabrowski conceded.

But he argued, "Moody's and to some extent S&P are driving what the market thinks of Chicago bonds."

The report could have been worse. It includes only net pension debt, unlike a recent report by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas that excluded pension assets. Beyond that, the institute excluded debt at Chicago's airports, on grounds that it is secured by airlines that use the fields rather than city taxpayers generally. And though it did include other general-obligation debt for things such as el stations and sewers, it's the pension shortfall that is driving the overall numbers.

For the record, Crain's Research Associate Matt Kiefer tells me the mean household income in Chicago was $66,383 in 2011, plus or minus $1,449, according to U.S. Census data. That's pretax income, folks. And it's a lot less than $83,000.

To change its pension systems, the city needs legislative approval. But so far, Springfield has not acted on reform of the state's equally underfinanced pension plans, much less dealt with the city's woes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In Memoriam: Police Officer Rodney Wayne Jones


Police Officer Rodney Wayne Jones
Detroit Police Department, Michigan
End of Watch: Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 49
Tour: 28 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Duty related illness
Incident Date: 9/14/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Police Officer Rodney Jones died while representing the Detroit Police Department during a police motorcycle training and skills competition event at the annual Bikes on the Bricks in Flint, Michigan.

He was performing maneuvers on his department motorcycle on the 400 block of South Saginaw Street when he suddenly stopped it and fell to the ground. He was immediately treated by nearby paramedics and transferred to Hurley Medical Center, where he passed away.

Officer Jones had served with the Detroit Police Department for 28 years. He is survived by his wife and son.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief of Police James E. Craig
Detroit Police Department
1301 Third Street
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 596-2200

Miller: Pension reform headed for 'Chicken' game

--This describes a few of the problems rather well.--

Story at Northwest Herald

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Several members of the Illinois General Assembly’s special pension reform committee told me last week that they believed a final proposal would emerge within the next week to 10 days.

The conference committee has been working on a solution to the state’s pension problems since June, after urgings by Gov. Pat Quinn to find a way around the spring legislative session’s pension reform gridlock.  For the past several weeks, the committee – made up of three Democrats and two Republicans from each chamber – has been working on “tweaks” to ideas they’ve discussed behind closed doors.

As I write this, there was no word on what the final proposal will look like, but there is real concern among Democrats I spoke with that the Republicans might decide not to go along. While the Republicans appointed to the committee have strongly indicated they were committed to finding a solution, three of the four GOP members are running for higher office: Sen. Bill Brady (governor), Rep. Jil Tracy (lieutenant governor) and Rep. Darlene Senger (Congress).

The Democrats fear that any strong objections from traditional Republican allies, particularly in big business, could spook those GOP members into opposition. And, as is usually the case with this sort of stuff, the chaos created by no solution could be far more politically beneficial to the Republicans in next year’s election than getting this monster off the table right now.

Despite their super-majority status, it’ll be impossible for the Democrats to pass a reform bill without significant Republican assistance. Democratic members are just too closely allied with union interests. Plus, as long as there is no pension reform proposal for Chicago (and none are on the horizon), Mayor Rahm Emanuel has little to no incentive to lobby his Democratic members to pass a bill, and billions of dollars in budgetary reasons to very quietly oppose it until he gets what he wants.

In the House, a majority of Republicans sided with the public employee unions last spring when they voted against Speaker Michael Madigan’s pension reform bill. The bill passed with just two votes above the bare majority, so there are few to spare. And while Madigan probably has some votes in his back pocket, which he can bring out to cushion the roll call a little more (depending on what Emanuel does, of course), it’s doubtful that any of the House Republican “no” votes will flip to “yes” once the compromise is unveiled, which means that pretty much all of the Republicans in that chamber who voted for the business-backed Madigan bill in May will have to vote for the pension reform conference committee’s report when it gets a vote, likely during the veto session.

Aside from the politics, there are some legitimate concerns being raised by Republicans about what they know of the proposal so far. One big problem some have is that the savings assumptions are based on what they believe is a too low inflation rate projection. Despite three straight decades of low inflation, there are those who insist that a wave of high inflation could return with a vengeance, blowing the savings projections out of the water.

Another concern is the back-loaded nature of the savings. About $94 billion of the $146 billion the bill is projected to save the state will occur between fiscal 2045 and 2050. It’ll be tough to allow most of the income tax-increase to expire in 2015 if more savings can’t be found up front.

The details leaked so far add up to a savings of $1.14 billion in fiscal 2015, which is not nearly enough to ensure that crucial programs could be spared from the ax if most of the tax hike goes away. And, make no mistake, that income-tax increase expiration is the reason behind much of the public demands by business groups for cutting the pension benefits of state workers, teachers and university employees.

About the only recourse the Democrats will have to prevent this from getting out of hand is to threaten to run the Senate-passed, labor-backed reform bill opposed by business if Republicans refuse to go along with a compromise.

Indeed, that possibility is already being floated. Such a vote would get the unions off the Democrats’ backs, and the GOP most certainly knows this. The vote wouldn’t stop the demands for more reform, however, and the New York ratings agencies might not love it, either, and the Democrats clearly know this as well.

So, we could end up with a high stakes game of “Chicken” next month.

• Rich Miller publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and

Naperville settles excessive force lawsuit for $435,000

--You would think that such a self proclaimed "professional" police department would do things right.
They arrest their own cops left and right and then screw up when it comes to doing the job properly with a civilian.-- 

Story at Daily Herald

By Jake Griffin

Naperville officials have settled a lawsuit brought by a Lemont woman who suffered a torn rotator cuff when she struggled with police while her son was being arrested on drug charges in 2010.

Jill Pelka-Wilger, Naperville’s assistant legal director, said the $435,000 settlement with 55-year-old Olga Alexsoff was finalized Monday and neither the city nor police officers admitted any liability. Pelka-Wilger called the settlement a “business decision.”

The incident took place outside of Alexsoff’s home on the 14000 block of Angelico Street in Lemont. Pelka-Wilger said undercover Naperville police officers were arresting a compliant Dimitar Alexsoff in the driveway of the home when his mother began interfering with the arrest.

“She attempted to pull the police officer out of the vehicle and when they asked her to step back, she did not comply, so they attempted to place handcuffs on her,” Pelka-Wilger said. “As she was twisting and turning while the handcuffs were being placed on her, her left rotator cuff was torn.”

Attempts to reach Olga Alexsoff’s attorney were unsuccessful.

Olga Alexsoff was never “formally charged” with any crime, which Pelka-Wilger acknowledged “may have hurt our case” if it had gone to trial.

“Their argument would have been the force used to restrain her was excessive because it did not stem from an arrest,” she said.

Pelka-Wilger added that because the incident occurred in Cook County, Naperville officials were leery about going to trial because Cook County is “notorious for unpredictable jury awards.” She cited a similar case that played out in a Cook County courtroom that resulted in a $2 million judgment against a municipal police department.

Nine Naperville police officers were initially named in the lawsuit, but eventually all were dismissed from the suit, Pelka-Wilger said.

It’s unclear if the case resulted in any changes to department arrest procedures. Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall did not return calls seeking comment. Marshall was not the police chief at the time of the incident.

In the end, Pelka-Wilger said the woman’s son, now 31, was the only person charged with a crime. He eventually pleaded guilty to a felony and spent a year in prison, she said.

While some city officials agreed with the settlement decision, they were not pleased with the circumstances that led to it.

“My general observation is that police have been overreaching, which has been a particular focus of mine since I took office in 2007,” said city councilman Bob Fieseler. “In many cases, we get in more trouble with how bystanders and family members are treated than with the suspects themselves.”

Fieseler said that while the Alexsoff case was settled for less than half of what was sought in the lawsuit, he complained the city’s police department had become the target of a growing number of lawsuits over the years by bystanders. He said the officers should have arrested Olga Alexsoff.

“If they felt they were justified, then they should have charged her with a crime that led to her being injured,” he said.

Fieseler said because the city is self-insured, the money being spent to settle the case would come from the police department’s budget.

“It means that any vacant positions are held open for a little longer,” he said.

The actual settlement payout is somewhat complicated. Pelka-Wilger said Olga Alexsoff will receive $130,000 from the city in cash. She will also receive $189,000 that will be placed in a Medicare trust that can only be used to pay for future medical care of the injured shoulder. Also, Medicare received a $13,000 payment to cover costs already paid on Olga Alexsoff’s behalf. The remaining $103,000 was paid to Olga Alexsoff’s attorneys and to cover her court costs, Pelka-Wilger said.

It’s unclear what happens to the funds in the Medicare trust if the woman doesn’t use all of it during her lifetime.

Illinois pension reform: The time has come

This year, just to keep up with a growing $100 billion unfunded pension liability, lawmakers devoted 22 percent of the state’s general revenue fund to pension costs and pension debt. A bite that size wreaks havoc on everything else the state does, forcing cuts to schools, prisons and public health.

--Maybe, if our state did things properly and not always with the intention of  our politicians making money for themselves, family, or friends there would be no reason to make cuts to our much needed services.
And, maybe, just maybe, if our politicians didn't STEAL the state pension money to begin with we wouldn't be in the position we are in now.--

Story at Chicago Sun-Times

Last Modified: Sep 16, 2013 09:28AM

It’s time.

A group of Illinois lawmakers has had all summer to drum up a new plan to cut public employee pension costs.

They’re close, with the outlines of their plan already public. The moment has come to put on the finishing touches — and that should include a last drive to lower the percentage of the state’s annual budget eaten up by pension costs.

There’s no reason this can’t happen this week, which would prod Democratic leaders Michael Madigan and John Cullerton to call a special session by the end of September. A last resort would be to move a pension bill during the fall veto session that begins Oct. 22.

This year, just to keep up with a growing $100 billion unfunded pension liability, lawmakers devoted 22 percent of the state’s general revenue fund to pension costs and pension debt. A bite that size wreaks havoc on everything else the state does, forcing cuts to schools, prisons and public health.

The bipartisan pension committee plan includes percentages that would hover between 21 and 24 percent until 2038, before dropping precipitously. (The percentages would drop if legislators extended the current income tax increase).

That is simply too high.

We accept that the percentage bite of the state’s general revenues will be — must be — significant. Even under SB1, a more aggressive cost-cutting bill that was defeated last spring, the percentage of the budget spent on pensions would have ranged between 18 and 20 percent until 2033.

There is no way to responsibly pay down debt without a large annual investment, unless you are prepared to decimate public employee pensions. Not only would that be wrong, it’s unlikely it would hold up in court given the state’s constitutional clause that protects pension benefits from being diminished.

We applaud the committee’s commitment in its 30-year solvency plan to aggressively pay down the state’s debt. They refuse to fall into the trap that has sunk Illinois time and time again: counting future savings today as a way to avoid making big payments in the short term. The result? The savings never materialize, no one wants to pay the bills in the out years and debt only balloons.

The pension plan also calls for funneling dollars that now go toward pension borrowing debt directly into the pensions once that debt is retired in 2019 and 2020. The demands on that money will be great and lawmakers are smart to earmark it in advance.

We’re all for front-loading payments, then, but believe there are still ways to bring down that 20 percent plus figure.

The core of the committee’s plan is reducing retiree annual cost-of-living increases, which is where the big dollars are, far more than in raising the retirement age or asking employees to contribute more to their pensions. The plan calls for freezing cost-of-living increases for a few years and then cutting the current 3 percent compounding COLA to half the size of the consumer price index, which today would be about 1.5 percent. The increase, though, still would be compounding. It’s worth reconsidering full compounding.

The committee also could reconsider limiting how much of an employee’s salary counts toward their pension and raising the retirement age some, relatively modest cost-savers featured in previous pension plans.

This is not to say the savings generated by the committee’s plans aren’t meaningful — they are. The pension committee set out to find a compromise between a plan advanced by the unions and Senate President Cullerton and a plan — SB1 — backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

There is no question the compromise leans far more heavily toward Madigan’s plan. Here, for comparison purposes, is how much that $100 billion in unfunded liability immediately would be reduced under each of the three plans: About $27 billion for Madigan’s; about $20 billion for the committee’s plan; between $5 and $9 billion for Cullerton’s. Over 30 years — a less reliable estimate — the savings would be $163 billion for Madigan’s plan, about $140 billion for the committee’s plan and about $57 billion for Cullerton’s.

The pension committee has come a long way — just a few more steps and they have slain Illinois’ pension debt dragon.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chicago cop washed hands before tests in death involving his gun

--I am all for the idea of taking care of our own but if you truly have nothing to hide why in the world would you do everything to make yourself look bad?
Aside form a polygraph test (because I believe they should be outlawed and would NEVER submit to one) if this guy is innocent why all the mistakes?
And, even if he washed his hands, a trace metal detection test may have showed if the officer fired the weapon.--

Story at Chicago Sun-Times

Staff Reporters
Last Modified: Sep 16, 2013 07:59AM

As Catherine Weiland sat dead on her couch with a bullet wound in her head from a Chicago police sergeant’s gun, the sergeant washed his hands before investigating officers tested him to see whether he might have fired the weapon, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Sgt. Steven Lesner’s hands showed no evidence of gunshot residue — particles that can be washed away with soap and water.

The police didn’t test Lesner till more than three hours after he reported the 47-year-old Northwest Side woman killed herself with his gun while they were alone in her apartment on Feb. 18, 2009, according to Chicago Police Department records released by the Illinois State Police Crime Lab.

Jody Weis, the police superintendent at the time of the shooting, was surprised to learn Lesner had washed his hands because he should have known doing so could compromise the gunshot residue test.

“It’s a form of evidence that’s relatively fragile, and you can wash it off,” Weis said.

The records show Lesner washed his hands in Weiland’s apartment sometime after the shooting, which he reported at 1:42 a.m. He did so before the first police arrived two minutes later, according to Adam Collins, a police spokesman.

The only gunshot residue found was on Weiland’s left hand, though the police now say the right-handed woman used her right hand to shoot herself in the right temple. No suicide note was found.

Police reports don’t indicate whether Weiland’s fingerprints or DNA were found on Lesner’s gun.

“Clearly, they should have run fingerprints or something,” said Weis. “Having her fingerprints or DNA on it would corroborate the story he provided.”

Collins, the police spokesman, said Lesner’s gun “was not fingerprinted because the grips on the gun are not a surface that prints can be obtained from.”

The police did swab the gun for DNA. But they never provided Lesner’s DNA to the state crime lab, so no DNA tests were conducted on Lesner’s gun.

“By law, CPD would have needed a court-ordered search warrant for Lesner’s DNA, and since there was no probable cause that a crime had been committed, CPD would not have been able to obtain a warrant,” Collins said.

Lesner, 47, has been a Chicago cop for nearly 20 years. He wasn’t suspended following the shooting but is now under investigation by the department’s internal affairs division, the Sun-Times reported last month.

He got his gun back on April 11, 2011.

Lesner couldn’t be reached for comment, and his attorney declined to comment.

He told detectives he’d never met Weiland until he responded to her cellphone call to the police around 7:40 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2009, about an argument with her boyfriend, Daniel Franzgrote, at the bar at La Villa Restaurant on Pulaski north of Addison.

Lesner told investigators Weiland was drunk, so he drove her home in his squad car. He said he stopped on the way to buy her a bottle of wine, escorted her into her second-floor apartment at 3115 N. St. Louis and gave her his business card, writing his cellphone number on the back. He then drove Weiland and her brother back to La Villa so they could get her car.

Later that night, just before 11 p.m., as he was finishing his shift, Lesner said, Weiland called, asking if he wanted to go out drinking. Lesner, who was married at the time but has since divorced, said he declined but agreed, at her suggestion, to come to her apartment to watch TV, saying he’d bring beer. He said she asked him to bring another bottle of wine and that he did.

Lesner said he arrived around 11:30 that night. He was drinking and watching TV with Weiland when he took off his ankle holster, with his gun, and put it on the floor while he went to the bathroom. He said that’s where he was when he heard a gunshot around 1:40 a.m. and came out to find Weiland seated in her living room with a gunshot wound.

According to police reports, Lesner called 911 from his cellphone. The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications has declined to release a recording of the call.

The investigation into Weiland’s death was assigned to a team of detectives led by Detective Thomas Conley, who, like Lesner, played for the FOP Stars, a police union hockey club with 60 members.

Having Conley involved posed no conflict of interest, according to the police department, because he and Lesner played for separate teams within the club, and Conley’s work was reviewed by a supervisor.

In his reports, Conley wrote that he found Weiland in a sitting position on her love seat, with her right leg crossed over her left leg and Lesner’s gun in her lap near her left hand. According to Conley, there were pill bottles on the living-room table and in her bedroom, where police found a half-full bottle of Lesner’s Michelob Ultra beer.

Lesner remained in the apartment with Joseph FitzSimmons, an attorney for the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association.

Investigator Nick Ribaudo said in a report that he tested Weiland’s hands for gunshot residue around 3:50 a.m., then tested Lesner’s hands at 5 a.m. at Area 5 detective headquarters. He noted that Lesner washed his hands “at scene.”

The State Police Crime Lab said it wasn’t given Lesner’s clothing to test for gunshot residue.

Weiland, a former insurance underwriter, had been licensed as a pharmacy technician shortly before her death. Twice-divorced, she’d struggled with alcoholism and bipolar disorder.

Franzgrote, 47, her boyfriend of two years, said he spoke with Weiland ‘three or four times a day” and that “she’d had problems.”

Still, Franzgrote said, “What happened that night, I don’t know if anybody will ever know, except for the sergeant.”

But he added: “There was no reason for the police officer to be there. Bottom line: If he wasn’t there, none of this would have happened.”

In Memoriam: K9 Max


K9 Max
Miami Gardens Police Department, Florida
End of Watch: Friday, September 13, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Breed: Not available
Age: 5
Gender: M
Tour: Not available
Cause: Accidental
Incident Date: 9/12/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

K9 Max died following complications during surgery for a duty related injury the previous night.

K9 Max and his handler had responded to a burglary in progress on NW 176th Terrace in which multiple suspects were believed to be inside of a residence. Max's handler deployed him through a jalousie window that appeared to provide access into the home. One of the glass panels in the window came loose and severely lacerated one of Max's ears.

He was transported to Hollywood Animal Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to repair the damage. During the surgery he suffered a medical emergency and died.

K9 Max had served as a certified apprehension and explosive ordinance detection canine for four years.

Condolences may be sent to:

Chief of Police Matthew Boyd
Miami Gardens Police Department
1020 NW 163 Drive
Miami Gardens, FL 33169

$400K bail for suspect in carjacking of police sergeant

--Gratifying to see they have someone in custody right now.
This case and many others like it show that no matter who are, no matter whether you carry a gun or not, NO ONE is immune to crime.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Rosemary Regina Sobol and Michelle Manchir
Tribune reporters
4:47 PM CDT, September 14, 2013

A judge set bail at $400,000 today for a man accused of carjacking an off-duty Chicago police sergeant on Sept. 6 in the South Shore neighborhood.

Christopher D. Jones, 19, of the 1300 block of East 69th Street, was charged with vehicular hijacking, vehicular invasion, and aggravated battery for the carjacking, police said.

Jones is also facing theft and burglary charges for three unrelated crimes that happened Sept. 12 and Aug. 25 on the South Side.

Asst. State's Attorney Christina Brewer said Jones gave a written statement about his involvement in the carjacking and said authorities are seeking others in the attack, which left the victim with two broken ribs, a sprained wrist, cuts on his eyes and head and a mild concussion.

Jones was tied to the crime when detectives recovered his fingerprint from the outside of the driver's side door of the silver 2006 Infinity SUV that was taken, police said.

The sergeant was carjacked near 71st Street and East End Avenue about 10:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6. He was behind the wheel of the SUV when attackers pulled him out, battered him and took off with the SUV, which contained his gun, badge and bulletproof vest, police said.

"I am happy about the fact that they have someone in custody," said the sergeant. He was reached by phone Saturday morning.

Jones was also charged with felony theft and felony burglary charges for two Sept. 12 incidents in the 5200 block of South Drexel Avenue, police said.

During one, he allegedly took a Nikon camera and an iPad; in the second, which was captured by video surveillance, he allegedly took a bicycle and a backpack from someone's back porch, authorities said.

Jones was also charged with misdemeanor theft for an Aug. 25 incident in the 6100 block of South Kimbark Avenue during which he allegedly took a television, police said.

Jones was arrested Sept. 12 and his public defender said he is a high school graduate and works at KFC.

Friday, September 13, 2013

In Memoiriam: Police Officer Jamie Buenting


Police Officer Jamie Buenting
Rockwell City Police Department, Iowa
End of Watch: Friday, September 13, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 37
Tour: 12 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 9/13/2013
Weapon: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect: Charged with murder

Police Officer Jamie Buenting was shot and killed during a standoff at a home on Pleasant Street at approximately 1:40 am.

Officers had responded to the home approximately four hours earlier after receiving a report that a man wanted for felony domestic assault was at the location. The man refused to exit the home when officers arrived and barricade himself inside. The subject fired a single shot at approximately 1:40 am and struck Officer Buenting, killing him.

The subject remained barricaded inside his home until surrendering at approximately 5:30 am. He was charged with first degree murder.

Officer Buenting had served with the 4-officer Rockwell City Police Department for eight years and had served in law enforcement for a total of 12 years. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Police Chief Larry Schoop
Rockwell City Police Department
335 Main Street
Rockwell City, IA 50579
Phone: (712) 297-7583

New investigations leader praises Schaumburg cops

--Police departments get a bad rap as it is. When scandals like this happen they can tear a department apart.
I am happy to see that the department is bouncing back.
There is no use in trying to quiet the stories. All you can do is push forward and keep on doing your jobs.--

Story at Daily Herald

By Eric Peterson

Retired Illinois State Police Capt. Dan Roach’s new assignment as the Schaumburg Police Department’s commander of investigations is another step in the agency’s reorganization triggered earlier this year by the arrest of three undercover officers on drug conspiracy charges.

But while he leads the department in working toward a new way of addressing gang and drug crime, other aspects of its investigations division have been continuing professionally and skillfully all along, Roach said.

“There’s this overriding professionalism,” he said of his new colleagues. “These people have never dropped the ball. Our investigative staff is outstanding. These guys are top of the line.”

Though the officers’ arrests in January — followed by the retirement of former Chief Brian Howerton in the wake of his own scandal — dealt a blow to department morale, Roach today sees law enforcement professionals holding their heads high and eager to fulfill their mission of public safety.

“I’m picking up more on a sense of optimism,” Roach said. “I think a lot has already been accomplished.”

Roach’s hire last week follows a consultant’s report in July recommending several improvements within the Schaumburg Police Department. The department’s interim chief, Ken Bouche, is chief operating officer of the consulting firm, Hillard Heintze.

Roach said he wants to be part of the team that helps implement the recommendations. But unlike Bouche’s role, Roach sees nothing “interim” about his new position.

One of the biggest changes Roach will oversee is the formation of a new model for dealing with gang and drug crimes. Those cases previously were handled by the department’s Special Investigations Bureau, which was disbanded shortly after the arrests of three of its members — former officers Terrence O’Brien, Matthew Hudak and John Cichy.

Like Internet crime, drug offenses are usually multijurisdictional, so Roach hopes to see greater regional cooperation among the area’s police departments.

During his 26 years in law enforcement — 22 in investigations — Roach was involved with many high-profile cases, including the Lane Bryant homicides in Tinley Park, the Drew Peterson cases, the Vaughn family murders and the Northern Illinois University shootings.

The most significant lesson he learned over that time was the importance of interpersonal communication — the key ingredient in both preventing and solving crimes for any law enforcement professional, he said.

And while he picked up some further professional skills during his more recent time as an adviser in the private sector, he learned more important about himself.

“I’m a person that needs a mission and a team,” Roach said. “I’d like this to be my second career. I’m not done yet. I still have a lot of fire left in me. I believe in the mission.”

Lawsuit: Will Co. detective ordered to hack iPad of officer's wife

--This just sounds believable. I can see this happening in some places.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Andy Grimm
Tribune reporter
9:37 AM CDT, September 13, 2013

A former Will County sheriff's detective claims a top deputy ordered him to hack the deputy's wife's iPad to look for evidence that she was cheating and then demoted the detective when he complained about it to a supervisor.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Will County, Josh Fazio says Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas in 2012 told him to crack the pass code on Kaupas' wife's computer to investigate "whether she was cheating on (Kaupas)." When Fazio asked his superior, Sgt. Dan Troike, about it, Troike told him to do as he was asked.

"I can't imagine in what universe that is legitimate police work," said Michael Booher, Fazio's attorney.

Fazio is suing Kaupas and Will County.

Ken Kaupas has announced he is running for sheriff in 2014, hoping to succeed his cousin, Paul Kaupas, who is retiring. Ken Kaupas, who often acts as spokesman for the sheriff's department, declined comment on the lawsuit Thursday.

Paul Kaupas said the suit was filed to damage his cousin politically.

"Anybody can say anything they want in a lawsuit and the newspaper, and it will go into print," Paul Kaupas said. "The knowledge I have of the case, in my opinion, I know this is being done for political purposes. None of the accusations are true."

Fazio also claims in the lawsuit that Lt. Jeff McKenzie in 2010 ordered Fazio to send him a pornographic DVD while McKenzie was attending the FBI academy in Virginia "because (McKenzie) apparently had no Internet there."

When Fazio complained about both the DVD and iPad requests two years later, he claims he was chewed out by Ken Kaupas and McKenzie, then demoted to patrol duty, despite receiving numerous commendations for his work during seven years as computer forensics expert for the department.

Fazio resigned rather than take the demotion and is now working in the private sector, Booher said. Booher said he had contacted the department about resolving Fazio's complaint before filing the lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess of $50,000.

"Will County had ample time to resolve this, but they didn't respond to us," the attorney said.

The suit claims that Fazio met with Paul Kaupas before resigning and that Kaupas told Fazio he "should have just kept his mouth shut and did what he was told."

In a meeting before he was demoted, Fazio contends, Ken Kaupas told him that Fazio "broke his trust" by complaining to Troike about the iPad and that McKenzie said the complaint about the DVD could "ruin (McKenzie's) career."

Fazio also claims in the lawsuit that Ken Kaupas told other police and government officials that Fazio was not trustworthy, "a thief, a fake, and could not do his job."


I can't think of a better cause to help out....

In Memoriam: Deputy Sheriff David E. Allford


Deputy Sheriff David E. Allford
Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office, Oklahoma
End of Watch: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 37
Tour: 13 years
Badge # Not available
Military veteran
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 9/11/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Deputy Sheriff David Allford was killed in a single vehicle crash while responding to backup a state trooper who was dealing with a combative subject.

He was traveling on I-40, near mile marker 218, when one of the tires on his Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicle suffered a blowout. The blowout caused the patrol vehicle to overturn twice. Deputy Allford was ejected from the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries.

Deputy Allford was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office for 13 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Sheriff Jack D. Choate
Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office
209 N Third
Okemah, OK 74859