A Chicago Tribune investigation has found that Illinois police departments are largely left to police their own in what can be a Wild West of ethical lapses. While most states maintain higher standards, Illinois allows officers with questionable pasts to remain in what is supposed to be among the most trusted professions. The Tribune takes a close look at the Chicago suburb of Harvey, “perhaps the clearest view of the breakdown of oversight.”
The Tribune reported Sunday on the south suburb becoming arguably the most lawless place in the area, with chronically high violent crime rates and few arrests, and about the people who suffer as a result. In the latest investigation, the newspaper has found that state law allowed the department to keep officers whose work records are full of allegations of wrongdoing — incidents that could have gotten them disciplined by the state if they were accountants, physical therapists or dental hygienists.