The Chicago Tribune had an intriguing story today about Des Plaines police officers facing disciplinary action concerning “alleged misreporting” of DUI cases in order to get overtime pay. But no details were forthcoming.
According to the story, reported by Jonathan Bullington:
Several Des Plaines police officers face possible suspensions stemming from a city investigation of alleged misreporting of DUI arrests to obtain overtime pay, officials said.
The overtime pay reportedly came from a federally funded grant designed to catch drunken drivers and seat belt violators.
Police Chief William Kushner said Friday that several officers would be disciplined, and the department might seek one officer’s resignation. He would not name the officers or specify how many are involved.
Kushner also declined to elaborate on what the officers are accused of doing but said an internal investigation of this nature typically centers on violations of department rules and policies. He said an internal probe concluded last week, and that federal authorities are also looking into whether any laws were broken.
Kushner said the department is “putting steps in place to ensure nothing like this would ever happen again. … We want to put this behind us and move forward.”
In 2011, Des Plaines was awarded a $116,190 Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program grant, the third largest in the state. The department had taken in $22,500 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.
So what does this mean? I have no idea. Des Plaines isn’t talking.
However, if you follow this blog, you might recall that last year I reported that: “Former Will County State’s Attorney Jeff Tomczak — who is in a position to know — has brought out evidence that Will County officers have been given a quota of 1 traffic stop per hour and one DUI per 10 hours in order to maintain Federal grants.” And how I also wrote that the Howard County, MD police had a written policy mandating officers to write 2-4 citations an hour, in order to stop as many vehicles as possible in order to get DUI arrests.
You may also recall the many Chicago Police officers who have been caught over the past six years for exaggerating or making up DUI cases, allegedly to increase their overtime pay. (If you don’t read this or that to get the most noteworthy examples).
And if you have a long enough memory, you may remember how a little over 10 years ago it was revealed that Highland Park police was targeting African-Americans and Hispanics (or anyone wearing a sombrero).
The longer Des Plaines covers up for its officers and refuses to release details, the more we can speculate. Perhaps Chief Kushner should remember that his salary is paid for by the taxpayers of Des Plaines and Cook County (and these federal funds are paid for by all taxpayers), and that he owes us all a full accounting.