13 Suburban Cops Suspended in Grant Scheme

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Byline: James Kane jkane@dailyherald.com

Des Plaines police announced Tuesday that 13 officers have been suspended between seven and 60 days each for their parts in a scheme to misrepresent their participation in grant-funded traffic enforcement campaigns.

The officers, whose names were not disclosed, were cited for violations that included conduct unbecoming; obedience of laws and regulations; reporting violations of laws, ordinances, rules or orders; and truthfulness, police said. Twelve of the 13 officers disciplined are assigned to the department's patrol division. The other is in the detective division.

Officers who were found to have gained financially from their involvement in the scheme will be ordered to make restitution, police said. Some did not profit, while others must repay amounts ranging from $184 to $787.

The suspensions follow an internal investigation into allegations the department over-reported the number of DUI arrests made during enforcement campaigns paid for by state and federal grants.

The investigation, conducted by an outside consultant, also sought to determine whether officers intentionally misrepresented the number of hours they worked in order to receive grant-funded overtime compensation.

In February, retired Des Plaines police commander Timothy Veit was charged by federal authorities with making false statements in reports that led to the department fraudulently receiving $132,893 in overtime reimbursements for drunken driving enforcement campaigns. Veit, 55, of Mount Prospect, has denied the allegations.

Despite the black mark on the department, Chief Bill Kushner, who was hired from outside the department last summer, said he believes people can trust Des Plaines officers to honestly do their jobs -- though he adds, "we have to go about regaining the public's trust. …