Thursday, November 29, 2007

Law agencies ignore the law

Audit: Access Often Denied by Law Enforcement
By WILL CARLESS Voice Staff Writer
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007

The vast majority of San Diego’s law enforcement agencies are still not meeting the basic requirements of California public records law, according to an audit organized by Californians Aware, an open government advocacy group.

The audit, carried out in San Diego by local journalists, found that local law enforcement agencies had reasonable or good customer-service levels, but that most of them still do not provide citizens with basic information about crimes.

The California Public Records Act requires that such information, including traffic accident reports, crime logs and an agency’s financial records be made available to the public. In theory, any citizen should be able to walk into their local police station and pick up a report on a crime that has been committed in their neighborhood...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good cops are going after a bad cop


This post was about bad cop Drew Peterson, who is suspected in the death of his 23-year-old wife, Stacy Peterson.



I found this Associated Press story today:

Did Cops Protect Fellow Officer Peterson?

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (Nov. 29) -- Eighteen times in two years, Bolingbrook police were called to fellow officer Drew Peterson's home because of trouble between husband and wife. But Peterson's wife could never get authorities to arrest him. In fact, she was the only one ever charged.

Photo Gallery: Where Is Stacy Peterson?
Family of Stacy Peterson / AP Drew and Stacy Peterson appear together in an undated family photo. The probe into her disappearance has raised questions about whether he received preferential treatment from police because he was on the force in Bolingbrook, Ill.
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Now residents of this Chicago suburb are wondering whether police were protecting one of their own — and whether they bear some responsibility for what happened next.

Peterson's wife at the time of the domestic disturbance calls, Kathleen Savio, was found dead in 2004 under mysterious circumstances. And now his current wife, Stacy, is missing and feared slain.

The way police dealt with Peterson "makes it kind of hard to trust cops," said Pablo Delira, a 59-year-old construction worker. He said he has no doubt he would have been led away in handcuffs if police had been called to his house 18 times.

Kim Camplin, who works in the clothing business, said Bolingbrook police should have taken the domestic disturbance calls more seriously.

"It doesn't matter if it's a fireman, a policeman or a clergyman — all it should take is one call and it should be taken seriously," she said. "What faith can we have in the system?"

Peterson, 53, was a police sergeant and 29-year veteran of the force, resigning earlier this month after he came under suspicion in his current wife's disappearance in October.

In a roughly two-year period beginning in 2002, police responded to 18 domestic disturbance calls at Peterson's house. Savio accused Peterson of beating her and threatening to kill her, but no charges were ever brought against him.

Instead, Peterson twice persuaded prosecutors to charge Savio with domestic battery. She was acquitted both times.

Police Lt. Ken Teppel said that in all 18 instances, police conducted a thorough investigation. He said a department inquiry found no indication officers did anything wrong or violated procedure.

But Teppel acknowledged the case has damaged the department's reputation.

"There is a distrust ... that this is going to be covered up," he said. "It's so hard to get over that."

Savio was found dead in her bathtub in 2004, and a coroner's jury ruled it an accidental drowning. But since Stacy Peterson's disappearance, investigators have re-examined Savio's death and exhumed her body, and said they now believe it was a homicide made to look like an accident.

Peterson has not been named a suspect in Savio's death. But authorities said he is suspected in Stacy Peterson's disappearance. Peterson has denied any wrongdoing in either case and said he believes his current wife left him for another man and is still alive.

The Bolingbrook department has handed the investigation over to the Illinois State Police — standard practice in criminal cases involving a member of the force.

Not everyone in the community of about 70,000 blames the department.

"I haven't lost one iota of trust in the police department," said Stephen DeFreeuw, a 16-year resident. "One rogue cop."

Teppel said street cops in the 122-member department are being reminded about the proper way to handle domestic calls and are being told they are expected to adhere to the rules, no matter who answers when they knock on the door.

Teppel said Police Chief Ray McGrury has made it clear: "There are no favorites."

Savio and Stacy Peterson were Peterson's third and fourth wives. He and wives No. 1 and 2 divorced.

Vicki Connolly, Peterson's second wife, has said that during their marriage, an increasingly controlling Peterson hit her and told her he could kill her and make it look like an accident.

Connolly said police sometimes came to the house when the couple were having problems, but she said the officers were friends of theirs and no reports ever were filed.


WBBM News Radio
09 November 2007 4:37PM

Cop Named A Suspect In Wife's Disappearance, 3rd Wife's Death Possibly Staged

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (WBBM/AP/CBS 2) - Sgt. Drew Peterson's was named a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Stacy Friday -- Authorities also said that a review of the evidence in the death of his 3rd wife Kathleen Savio is consistent with the ``staging'' of an accident to conceal a homicide.

An Illinois State police captain said that the Stacy Peterson case had gone "from a missing persons case to a potential homicide case," and that her husband, Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson, had "gone from being a person of interest to clearly being a suspect."

Peterson was also relived from duty by Bolingbrook Police Department hours after he was labled by investigators as "clearly a suspect"

"Effective immediately Sergeant Drew Peterson has been relieved of duty and placed on suspension without pay pending the completion of an internal affairs investigation and a hearing before the Bolingbrook Fire & Police Commission," according to a press release issued by Bolingbrook police.

Stacy Peterson has been missing since Oct. 28, and at the time of her disappearance, Drew Peterson said she had been voluntarily left.

But after Stacy's family filed a missing persons report, police conducted two separate searches at the Peterson home, on the house, the vehicles, and a trailer, Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said at a news conference Friday.

"Subsequent to that search warrant, we went back several days later on another search warrant based on information was learned after the first search warrant," Dobrich said.

Based upon the information learned since then, police have concluded that the case had gone "from a missing persons case to a potential homicide case," Dobrich said.

"Early on, we looked at this as a missing persons case, but also believed strongly that based on the (Kathleen) Savio investigation (into the death of Drew Peterson's third wife) and the information that we were gleaning within the first 24 hours of the missing persons case with Stacy, was starting to strongly point to Drew Peterson being a person of interest," Dobrich said. "I would say that right now, Drew Peterson has gone from being a person of interest to clearly being a suspect."

A coroner's jury ruled Savio's death in 2004 was an accident, even though there was no water in the bathtub where the 40-year-old's body was found face-down, her hair soaked in blood from a head wound. Investigators theorized the water had drained.

In a petition filed Friday the Will County state's attorney lists reasons authorities want to exhume Savio's body, prosecutors and said a review of evidence in the case ``is consistent with the 'staging' of an accident to conceal a homicide.''

The chief criminal judge in Will County has approved the petition, State's Attorney James Glasgow said at a news conference Friday.

Glasgow said the possibility of a homicide is suspected.

Prosecutors said they reviewed photographs of the crime scene and autopsy, the autopsy protocol, and police reports.

``... The one-inch gash in the back of Kathleen Savio's head did not render her unconscious, which would have been necessary for her to accidentally drown in the bathtub,'' the petition stated.

Will County Circuit Court Judge Daniel J. Rozak signed the petition granting the exhumation Friday. It was not immediately clear when the body would be exhumed.