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Des Plaines cops face suspensions in DUI pay investigation

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Several Des Plaines police officers face possible suspensions stemming from a city investigation of alleged misreporting of DUI arrests to obtain overtime pay, officials said.

The overtime pay reportedly came from a federally funded grant designed to catch drunk drivers and seat-belt violators.

Des Plaines Police Chief William Kushner said Friday that several officers would be suspended and the department may seek a resignation in one case. He would not name the officers or comment on how many officers faced discipline.

Kushner declined to provide details on what the officers may be accused of doing, but said an internal investigation of this nature typically centers on violations of department rules and policies.

The city’s internal investigation, which Kushner said concluded last week, does not preclude any officer from criminal prosecution in the ongoing federal investigation.

Kushner said the department is “putting steps in place to ensure nothing like this would ever happen again.”

“We want to put this behind us and move forward,” he added.

City Manager Michael Bartholomew confirmed that several officers face suspensions, but referred specific questions on any possible disciplinary action to Kushner.

Des Plaines launched an internal investigation independent of an ongoing federal investigation into how the city’s police department managed the grant, according to Bartholomew.

In 2011, Des Plaines was awarded $116,190, the third-largest Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program grant in the state. The department had taken in $22,504 as of last March, when city leaders told the Illinois Department of Transportation that paperwork submitted for the grant might have included arrests made by officers who weren’t actually working on grant-funded time, IDOT officials have said.

IDOT cut off the grant and allowed Des Plaines to investigate. The former commander who oversaw the program retired shortly after the grant was suspended.

By Jonathan Bullington Tribune reporter

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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