Reporting Keith Johnson
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (STMW) – A north suburban police chief is waiting for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to conclude a criminal investigation of alleged misconduct before determining whether an internal investigation is in order.
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“They asked me to hold off until they are done with their investigation,” Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski said after meeting with representatives of the state’s attorney’s office last week.
When the investigation could be completed is not yet known, Kaminski said.
If Kaminski opts for an internal investigation it will center on allegations of brutality and misconduct involving Lt. Jason Leavitt, who as part of the state’s attorney’s investigation of the department was arrested and indicted on several counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct on Nov. 15.
The charges stemmed from the alleged beating of two 15-year-old boys who were arrested in 2006. One of the boys later filed a civil suit, which was settled last year by the city. In addition to the allegations of brutality, the suit claimed members of the department tried to cover up what occurred and filed false reports.
The lawsuit named four officers as defendants. Leavitt is the only member of the department to have been charged criminally.
Following his arrest, Leavitt was released on bail and Kaminski placed him on paid administrative leave. He remains on paid leave this week.
During a Nov. 16 meeting with the Chief’s Advisory Task Force, Kaminski, who joined the department in 2009 with an aim of increasing community partnerships, told the group Leavitt’s indictment has had an adverse impact on department morale.
“Anytime you have any kind of these events within an organization it has an effect,” Kaminski told Pioneer Press. “As a result we need to keep the focus on what our mission is, and that’s to serve the public.”
Kaminski said he had spoken with his officers, stressing the importance of doing their jobs, remaining professional and connecting with the public. He said he hopes the allegations against Leavitt will not damage any inroads the department has made in improving relations with the community.
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