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updated: 4/16/2013 11:12 AM

Police Department Disciplines 13 Officers in Traffic Enforcement Grant Funds Probe

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Karen Kozenczak

For additional information call Police Chief Bill Kushner, 847-391-5450/April 16, 2013

Police Department Disciplines 13 Officers in Traffic Enforcement Grant Funds Probe

Discipline includes suspensions, restitution

The Des Plaines Police Department announced today that 13 police officers face disciplinary action based on the outcome of the internal investigation into how federal and state traffic enforcement grant funds were used.

The investigation found that 13 officers (12 assigned to Patrol Division, one in Detective Division), were in violation of several Des Plaines Police Department rules and regulations. Notably, officers were cited for violations that included "conduct unbecoming," "knowledge of laws and regulations," "obedience of laws and regulations," "reporting violations of laws, ordinances, rules or orders," "obedience of an unlawful order," and "truthfulness."

The 13 officers face suspensions ranging in length from seven to 60 days. Also, officers who were found to have gained financially from their involvement in a scheme to misrepresent their participation in grant-funded enforcement activity will be ordered to make restitution. Restitution varies from officer to officer. Some did not profit, while others must repay amounts ranging from $184 to $787.

"When we began this investigation, we said we would be aggressive, thorough and follow the facts. We also said that if officers were found to have violated our policies, they would be held accountable. That is exactly what we did," said Des Plaines Chief of Police Bill Kushner. "While

this is certainly an unpleasant conclusion to a very unfortunate episode, we are eager to move forward. Now that we have issued discipline and held officers accountable, I believe we are one step closer to putting this matter behind us for good."

Last fall, Chief Kushner launched an internal investigation to examine the accuracy of reports and information provided to the United States Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation under grant-funded DUI and seat belt enforcement campaigns. The investigation, which was conducted by an outside investigations consultant, sought to determine whether officers intentionally misrepresented the number of hours they worked in order to receive grant-funded overtime compensation.

Kushner said several factors weighed in to his decision to mete out discipline including the specific rules violations and each officer's individual disciplinary history. He also pointed out that the Department and investigators worked closely with USDOT and IDOT officials to determine the scope of the wrongdoing by officers.

The officers were notified today of the disciplinary measures that were being taken. All suspensions are effective Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

Kushner said he is working with his team to fully staff all shifts to cover for officers who are under suspension and he expects no adverse impact on public safety.