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updated: 10/24/2012 7:03 PM

South Barrington officer accused of forging painkiller prescriptions

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A South Barrington patrol officer is on paid administrative leave following his arrest on charges of forgery and official misconduct, both Class 3 felonies, and possession of a controlled substance, a class 4 felony.

Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan on Wednesday set bail at $10,000 for Keith Baker, 30, who served with the Hoffman Estates Police Department before joining South Barrington in 2010. He is paid $67,161 per year.

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Baker's arrest resulted from an investigation by the professional standards division in the Office of the Cook County State's Attorney.

Baker is accused of obtaining a blank prescription pad from a physician friend who did not give the defendant permission to use it, state's attorney spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

According to Simonton, Baker forged the physician's signature on prescriptions for Norco, a pain medication composed of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Prosecutors accuse him of filling prescriptions for 180 pills on each of five separate occasions between May 8 and 26 at several Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in Hoffman Estates and South Barrington.

On several of those occasions, Baker was in uniform and on duty, she said.

Baker could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Simonton said a pharmacist at an Osco Drug on the 1000 block of Roselle Road in Hoffman Estates refused to fill a prescription Baker presented on May 30. Two days later, Baker attempted to get a 90-tablet prescription filled at a CVS he had frequented earlier. That prescription was denied as well, Simonton said.

A suspicious CVS pharmacist reported Baker's behavior to police, authorities said.

The officer's arrest came as a surprise, South Barrington Deputy Police Chief Raymond Cordell said.

"We have high expectations for our officers," Cordell said. "If the charges are true, he did not meet those expectations."

If convicted, Baker could face up to five years in prison. Probation also is an option.

He next appears in a Chicago courtroom Nov. 14.

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