A few days ago, I plead for Des Plaines to explain the news reports alleging that some of their officers had falsified DUIs. They did not.
But now, thanks to the Feds, we are getting some information. Jonathan Bullington of the Chicago Tribune reports as follows:
A former Des Plaines police commander stands accused of padding DUI arrest records to get federal grant money and was charged with one count of making false information, federal authorities announced today.
Timothy Veit, 55, of Mount Prospect, is alleged to have “knowingly and intentionally inflated” the number of DUI arrests made under a federally funded grant designed to curb drunk driving and seat belt violations, according to charges from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Federal authorities said the grant required submitting a form listing the number of DUI arrests made by police and the blood-alcohol content of the person arrested. Authorities said the department was then reimbursed for officer overtime pay, mileage and equipment.
From 2009 to 2012, Veit allegedly falsely inflated DUI arrest numbers by 122, and provided fake blood-alcohol content levels for those “fictitious” arrests, authorities said.
Authorities claim that Veit’s false reports meant the police department “fraudulently obtained” $132,893 in federal grant money from Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program grants funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Veit served as the department’s project director for the STEP program, authorities said, and his duties included certifying that the department complied with a grant requirement showing that an average of one DUI arrest is made for every 10 hours of overtime officers worked in STEP enforcement campaigns.
He retired last year after 31 years with Des Plaines police, according to authorities. Veit could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last week, Des Plaines officials confirmed that several police officers face possible suspensions stemming from the city’s internal investigation into mismanagement of the grant program.
Police Chief William Kushner said he was unaware of the charges against Veit.
“It’s regrettable when someone violates their oath of office for whatever reason,” Kushner said.
If convicted, Veit faces a maximum of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
This is yet another piece of evidence that shows the pressure that police departments are under to make DUI arrests in order to raise revenues, either through grants, or through impoundments and fines.
This is in addition to the traditional incentives for police officers to make DUI arrests, thereby allowing them to pad their income with extra overtime for paperwork and court time.
One has to wonder: if these officers would go so far as to make up fictitious cases, and violate federal law by reporting them to the U.S. Government; isn’t it also very likely that the Des Plaines police department was trumping up actual DUI arrests in order to boost their numbers? And how many other police departments have been doing the same thing?