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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rich town nose in the air Orland Park Suspends 2 cops for Insensitive comments

Orland Park Police chief who took a bullet for Ronald Ragen suspended two cops that spoke their mind and exercised their first amendment right . Two Orland Park police officers have been suspended without pay for 30 days for making comments Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy described as “unprofessional and insensitive.”

In a conversation after a routine traffic stop, recorded on a patrol car’s dashboard camera, the officers used a phrase that “could be harmful and hurtful to people,” McCarthy said. The officers are not being named.

Attorney Don Perry said he obtained a copy of the video to prepare for a client’s DUI case about a week ago. He ran across the conversation while watching video of an earlier traffic stop and said he was offended by what he heard.

“I’d describe it as racially insensitive and inappropriate,” said Perry, of Orland Park. “These are people in a position of power, and if that’s their attitude, it makes you wonder, whether subliminal or not, if people they pull over are going to receive fair treatment.”

Perry said he questioned one of the officers about the conversation during his client’s trial Feb. 14, but he had no other contact with the Orland Park Police Department.

McCarthy said he was disappointed and upset when he learned of the video and heard the conversation after the trial. The officers were suspended later that day.

“This is a professional department and we hold employees to high standard,” he said.

Orland Park police declined to release a copy of the video.

The video was recorded in December but no one in the department watched it until last week, McCarthy said.

Though Orland Park police review videos of traffic stops, with officers making 24,000 traffic stops a year it can be hard to keep up, McCarthy said.

McCarthy said 30-day suspensions were rare in the department, but though some called the punishment hefty, he considered it appropriate.

“It was a tough decision, but the right decision,” he said.

Cop fires gun in police station located at 18th S. State

A sergeant accidentally fired his gun in the Central District police station in the South Loop, hitting a water pipe that leaked for two hours while police waited on city engineers.

The gun went off around 9:40 p.m. Monday in the Chicago Alternative Policing (CAPS) office at the district station at 18th and State streets, according to police. No one was injured, but officers noticed a trickle of water from the first-floor ceiling that turned into a gushing stream. The downpour ruined computers and desks, but a damage estimate wasn't immediately available.

The water was turned off overnight and prisoners in the station's holding area were transferred to the police station at 51st Street and Wentworth Avenue, police said. Twelve men and three women were transferred.

Police said the sergeant will likely face discipline within the department.