Six months to the day after three undercover Schaumburg police officers were arrested on drug conspiracy charges, village leaders Tuesday heard consultants' recommendation to disband the vice unit the officers belonged to.
The suggestion was key among the recommendations from law enforcement consultant firm Hillard Heintze to the Schaumburg Police Department for preventing any ethical lapses from recurring.
Ken Bouche, Schaumburg's interim police chief and Hillard Heintze chief operating officer, said his firm's three-month study concluded that the undercover vice unit -- which allowed officers to follow leads and suspects into other communities anywhere -- wasn't right for a department of Schaumburg's size.
While the village's officers might well engage in short-term, Schaumburg-specific undercover operations in the future, wide-ranging jobs like the ones the Special Investigations Bureau took on should best be left to truly regional task forces, Bouche said.
Hillard Heintze also concluded that gaps in supervision in the Schaumburg Police Department did not encourage the three arrested officers' alleged crimes but merely prevented them from being detected earlier.
"You have three officers who made a decision to act like criminals and commit criminal acts," Bouche said.
John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien are accused of shaking down drug dealers and peddling narcotics in DuPage County. The three have pleaded innocent to multiple charges in DuPage County, including criminal drug conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance, armed violence, theft and official misconduct.
Bouche's firm's study resulted in 10 general findings and 55 recommendations -- 14 of which have already been implemented.
One of the recommendations the police department felt best not to wait on was reinstating lieutenants in the police department hierarchy.
The lieutenant rank had been dropped from the department during an earlier restructuring -- partly from an effort to make the department more efficient during trying economic times, Bouche said.
Among the recommendations of the Hillard Heintze report is that certain supervision levels be maintained throughout all economic environments, Bouche said.
He praised the professionalism of the remaining members of the police department and their willingness to step up and help get the organization back on track through the aftermath of this year's crisis.
"No citizen ever received less service from the Schaumburg Police Department than they requested, deserved or desired," Bouche said.
Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson thanked Bouche for the thoroughness of the study the village had paid $148,000 for.
"I think what you've done so far is wonderful," Larson said.
"I think you're right when you say we have a wonderful police department, and it's getting better and better."