Island Lake police Chief Sciarrone fired for 'gross incompetence'

  • Anthony Sciarrone

    Anthony Sciarrone

 
 
Updated 10/26/2018 10:21 PM

A month after being placed on administrative leave, Anthony Sciarrone has been fired as Island Lake's police chief, officials confirmed.

Sciarrone, a former village trustee, was axed by the village board Thursday night for "gross incompetence" that included poor record keeping and running the department "with fear and intimidation," Trustee Mark Beeson said.

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Sciarrone, who couldn't be reached for comment, was placed on leave by Mayor Charles Amrich in late September pending the outcome of an investigation into his actions in the department.

Former Bartlett Chief Dan Palmer is running the department on an interim basis, and that will continue until a new chief is named. Palmer said he won't seek the job.

Sciarrone, 70, had been Island Lake's top cop since 2015. He resigned from the village board to take the job.

The village board hired labor attorney Yvette Heintzelman in September to look into allegations of harassment involving the police department and village employees.

Heintzelman delivered a lengthy report that was highly critical of police department practices, Beeson said.

That report has not been made public. The Daily Herald requested a copy under the Freedom of Information Act.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trustees voted 4-2 to fire Sciarrone. Trustees Harold England and Jennifer Villareal opposed the move.

Many Island Lake police officers attended the meeting to witness the vote.

Trustee Charles Cermak said he felt it was time to "start over" and fire Sciarrone.

"I felt we just needed a change," Cermak said. "I'm not going to blame anyone for anything."

Amrich couldn't be reached for comment.

Sciarrone previously was an Island Lake police officer for 29 years and served as interim chief from 2008 to 2010.

He left the department in 2011 under a cloud. He'd been placed on administrative leave by then-Mayor Debbie Herrmann in 2010 and later was demoted to sergeant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

After being removed as interim chief, Sciarrone was accused by three officers of earlier threatening violence against them or village officials. In a 2013 interview, Sciarrone said the comments attributed to him were made without any intent to harm.

Sciarrone was elected to the village board in 2013 as part of Amrich's slate, and it was Amrich who named him chief two years later. Beeson was a member of that slate, too.

Also Thursday, trustees voted 4-2 to fire part-time officer Charles Mader. Rather than undertaking patrol duties, Mader had been an internal investigator whose responsibilities weren't clear to trustees or Palmer.

"I don't know what he was doing," Palmer said. "I can't find any work product from him."

Another part-time officer who served as an internal investigator, Joseph Rivera, is under investigation as part of the same probe, officials said. Rivera hasn't been at work, but trustees hope he will meet with Palmer.

Palmer said he and residents need officers on the street, not conducting internal investigations.

Sgt. Billy Dickerson is under investigation, too. Dickerson was placed on administrative leave the day after Sciarrone as part of the same inquiry.

Dickerson's fate hasn't been determined, Palmer said.

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