Questions are being raised about the unusual treatment given to an Elgin police officer who was arrested, but not charged with, DUI by Sycamore police.
From the Northwest Herald:
Police Chief Glenn Theriault has been on administrative leave since April 10 as the city investigates why an Elgin police officer arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence was released without charges.
Records obtained by the Daily Chronicle through the Freedom of Information Act show a Sycamore officer was building a driving under the influence case against Elgin Police Sgt. Mark Whaley after an early morning traffic stop Saturday, April 8. Whaley, who has been a police officer for almost 23 years, was handcuffed and driven to the police station, where he was processed. Theriault, who worked with Whaley on the Elgin police force, also went to the police station that night.
Whaley later was released without even a traffic ticket because of lack of evidence, according to the police report.
The report shows Whaley, 46, declined field sobriety tests and declined to provide a breath sample at the Sycamore police station. It does not say whether Whaley was issued a DUI ticket or read the “warning to motorist” that could have triggered a suspension of his license for a year for refusing chemical testing under Illinois law.
Cellphone records show Theriault had three early morning phone conversations with an Elgin police commander and later helped to ensure that a $500 administrative towing fee was waived for Whaley, bypassing a hearing process prescribed by city code.
“Tough position for you and all last night,” read a text sent by Theriault hours later to the arresting officer, Luke Kampmeier. “I’m thinking of the rock-and-glass houses story.”
“A valuable experience for me, albeit unpleasant,” Kampmeier replied. “Tonight we will stick to parking tickets.”
The episode began around 1:40 a.m. Saturday, April 8. In his report, Kampmeier – who joined the force out of college in 2014 – wrote that he stopped a silver 2005 Ford F-150 pickup on Somonauk Street near High Street after he saw the driver almost cause a traffic crash at the intersection of State and California streets. Reasons given for the stop were noted as “fail to signal, overtake on right, no front license plate.”
In his report, Kampmeier wrote that the driver, Whaley, smelled strongly of alcohol. His speech was “thick-tongued,” his eyes glassy and bloodshot, his movements “slow and deliberate.”
Whaley told Kampmeier he had recently dropped off his wife and child downtown, then changed his story to say he was in the area for training and had one beer in Sycamore before driving, according to Kampmeier’s report. A story by the Daily Herald about Whaley saving a boy’s life with CPR in 2011 said he lived near DeKalb at the time.
After Whaley refused field sobriety tests, Kampmeier arrested him on suspicion of DUI, records show.
A second officer, Blake Powers, a 2016 police academy graduate, searched Whaley’s vehicle and found an unopened bottle of Miller Lite near the passenger seat, according to police reports.
You can read the whole story here. Normally, in this situation, the person will be charged with DUI. Often in Sycamore, the police will seek a warrant to obtain a blood draw. Getting released without being charged is a rare gift indeed. We should all be so lucky.