Alderman: Des Plaines police misconduct claims need independent investigator
A Des Plaines alderman wants to hire an outside consultant to investigate the city's police department once a criminal probe into allegations of officer misconduct at an off-duty party is finished.
The city council could vote as early as Monday on Alderman Malcolm Chester's proposal to spend up to $50,000 on the investigation.
"I think we need an outside, independent investigation here for credibility's sake," Chester said. "We have to have good facts, and I want to make sure everybody is comfortable with the facts we do have. I've heard so many stories of what happened that I'm getting a headache."
The investigator would look into what occurred during and after a June gathering attended by dozens of officers at a Hoffman Estates golf course. Hoffman Estates police are investigating allegations of possible criminal activity.
Des Plaines and Hoffman Estates police have declined to give details about the nature of the allegations, citing the pending investigation.
After Hoffman Estates police are finished, the city plans to resume an internal investigation it started before the criminal investigation.
Des Plaines Police Chief Bill Kushner said the department would cooperate with a third-party investigator, though he doubted an outside firm would uncover information not revealed through the internal investigation.
"I think we're going to get to the heart of the matter with the internal investigation," Kushner said. "I gain nothing by concealing anything. I want this all out in the open. I want to air the information."
Kushner said the internal investigation will seek out any violations of department policies and regulations.
Chester said he is not impugning the integrity of the police department by asking for an independent investigator.
"I want to make sure the outside perception of whatever we do is an investigation that was done in the most professional way possible," Chester said. "I don't want any one to be in a position where they can say, 'They investigated themselves and tried to cover it up.'"
The council meeting is 7 p.m. Monday at city hall at 1420 Miner St.