Island Lake trustee-elect denies making threats

In the months after he was removed as Island Lake's interim police chief in 2010, Anthony Sciarrone was accused by three officers of earlier threatening violence against them or village officials, department records reveal.

Now a trustee-elect who's set to take office May 9, Sciarrone, in an interview with the Daily Herald, said he was misquoted in the officers' memos “every single time.”

Sciarrone also said the comments attributed to him were made without any intent to harm.

No criminal charges were filed as a result of the allegations. Sciarrone retired from the department in February 2011.

Island Lake Police Chief William McCorkle, who replaced Sciarrone but announced his resignation this week, told the Daily Herald he took the memos and the allegations seriously.

“The officers were very sincere,” he said.

Mayor-elect Charles Amrich, who ran on the same slate with Sciarrone, said he's known Sciarrone for more than 30 years and trusts him.

“I cannot say anything bad about the man,” said Amrich, the town's mayor from 1985 to 2005. “He's done a good job as a police officer and also as chief.”

Sciarrone, 65, now works as a McHenry County court security officer. He served as an Island Lake police officer for 29 years and was the interim police chief from March 2008 to March 2010.

Sciarrone was placed on paid administrative leave by Mayor Debbie Herrmann in February 2010. He was demoted the following month to sergeant, which was his rank before serving as chief.

In a public statement at the time, Herrmann accused Sciarrone of being a poor administrator, failing to properly supervise officers and failing to control his temper when dealing with subordinates, among other professional faults.

Specifics weren't made public until shortly before this month's municipal election, which saw Sciarrone and four political allies win seats on the village board, the mayor's office and the village clerk's office in landslide victories over Herrmann and her running mates.

In late March, Island Lake resident Daniel Field published dozens of village documents about Sciarrone, Amrich and two of their supporters on a political website Field created. He has an information-technology contract with the village and supported Herrmann's team in the election.

His website has since been taken down.

Field obtained the memos through a Freedom of Information Act request, Village Clerk Connie Mascillino confirmed.

The Daily Herald independently received copies of the memos through the Freedom of Information Act as well.

The documents included four 2010 memos about Sciarrone from a trio of Island Lake police officers, two of whom no longer are with the department. All four memos were written to McCorkle, who was named chief the same night Sciarrone was demoted.

One of the officers, Sgt. James Green, said he heard Sciarrone say someone should put a bullet in trustees' heads.

Detective Matt duChemin reported Sciarrone had said, multiple times, that he would shoot him.

“You're too big to fight, I'll just shoot you,” duChemin quoted Sciarrone as saying in a memo dated June 22, 2010. On “a couple” of occasions, Sciarrone unholstered his service revolver while making such statements, duChemin wrote in the same memo.

In a memo written June 24, 2010, duChemin reported hearing Sciarrone threaten to shoot village officials “in the head.”

The third officer, Mike Wahl, said Sciarrone threaten to shoot him, too.

“He then turned to sit down, put his hand on his gun and stated, 'I swear I'm going to shoot you,'” Wahl wrote in his memo, dated June 25, 2010.

Of the three officers, only Wahl remains with the department. He couldn't be reached for comment.

When asked about the memos and the allegations, Sciarrone said he was “aware of the comments.” He insisted none of the allegations were valid and said the memos were compiled as part of an effort to remove him from the police force.

“Some of those comments were taken out of context,” Sciarrone said.

“Essentially it's one police officer to another police officer, getting rid of some aggravation,” he said.

Sciarrone said he's disappointed the memos surfaced during the political campaign.

“It's water under the bridge as far as I'm concerned,” he said.

Some of the allegations were repeated before Election Day on Facebook by Trustee Shannon Fox, who supported Herrmann's slate in the election.

But the accusations didn't hurt Sciarrone's campaign. He finished third out of six in the race for three seats on the village board, winning a 4-year term.

Amrich — who's pledged to make getting a new police chief a top priority — said he can't believe Sciarrone would make the comments reported in the officers' memos.

“It sounds like a witch hunt to me,” Amrich said. “He's got my total support.”

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