WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — The former deputy police chief in north suburban Vernon Hills has been indicted on theft and official misconduct charges, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
A grand jury accused Patrick Zimmerman of falsifying records related to the Sustained Traffic Enforcement program, such that he received payouts for false traffic citations he wrote up.READ MORE: MISSING: Matthew La Luz, 32, Last Seen In Rogers Park, May Need Serious Medical Attention
The program provides grant funds to local police departments to compensate officers for extra time spent on traffic enforcement. The program is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation and is widely used throughout the state, the State’s Attorney’s office said.
Zimmerman resigned from the Vernon Hills Police Department in September of last year, after the department noticed discrepancies in his documentation for the grants. It later turned out that Zimmerman had been paid more than $4,000 based on false traffic citations he had written.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Spotty Showers Sunday Night, Monday
The falsified records triggered payment of grant funds to the Village of Vernon Hills, but no drivers actually ever got tickets, and the tickets were never submitted for processing to the village, the court system, or the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, the State’s Attorney’s office said.
“We must hold our police officers to the highest standards,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a news release. “While we acknowledge Zimmerman’s 26 years as a police officer, our duty to the law demands that we bring these charges and inform the public about the misuse of taxpayer funds. Our office is in the process of conducting an internal audit of the criminal cases that Zimmerman personally handled.”
Vernon Hills police Chief Patrick Kreis said in the release that the department has audited related activities, and made improvements to the administration of the traffic program.MORE NEWS: At Least 22 People Shot, 3 Killed In Gun Violence In Chicago This Weekend
Zimmerman is due in court on April 5.