Oak Brook dismisses Steve Peterson from police force

Drew Peterson’s son, Stephen Peterson, was discharged from his position as an Oak Brook police officer Saturday after the village’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners ruled he withheld information relevant to the investigation of his stepmother’s disappearance.

The board announced it found the former officer guilty of “failing to disclose facts to law enforcement officials” investigating Stacy Peterson’s 2007 disappearance and suspected murder.

Stephen Peterson admitted temporarily storing guns for his father shortly after his stepmother went missing. The three guns included an assault rifle with a prohibited shortened barrel, which Stephen Peterson said he looked at only briefly in its case before sticking it in a closet in his North Aurora home.

He testified he did not consider the guns or his receipt of $236,000 in checks from his father “relevant” information he needed to tell his superiors.

“Officer Peterson’s continuing claim that the weapons and money were irrelevant to the investigation by the Illinois State Police were self-serving, disingenuous, not credible, and demonstrate that officer Peterson lacks the fundamental ability to make sound judgments,” Commissioner Fredrick Cappetta said in reading from the findings.

Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, is awaiting trial for the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and is suspected in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy.

The board cleared Stephen Peterson of the two other charges against him: possession of an unlawful weapon and failing to keep an internal investigation confidential.

Peterson had been on paid leave from his $67,422-a-year job since August after Oak Brook Police Chief Thomas Sheahan filed the charges.

Peterson hugged some of his former colleagues after hearing the decision then left without comment. His police union attorney, Tamara Cummings, said Peterson intends to appeal the decision.

Oak Brook village attorney Mark Sterk said Peterson has 35 days to appeal the decision in DuPage County Circuit Court.

As they left, commissioners said dismissing Peterson was a disappointing decision to have to make. The statement of findings said commissioners took into account the level of judgment expected of police officers.

The amount of time they took to make the decision shows was a difficult one, commissioners said. The board held its first hearing on whether to fire Peterson Nov. 30 and met again Jan. 10. Saturday’s announcement was rescheduled from Feb. 2 because of the blizzard.

  Former Oak Brook police officer Stephen Peterson, the son of Drew Peterson, showed no reaction Saturday after learning the village’s board of police and fire commissioners dismissed him for failing to disclose information related to the 2007 disappearance of Stacy Peterson. PAUL MICHNA/