A little Elgin Police Department History…

(note: Before I even start this, I want to be upfront.  I’m not a “reporter”.  I’m a “Photographer”.  I’m trying to tell the stories that “Reporters” won’t touch because if they did, they’d nver get another press-release from EPD.  That said….here’s some reading & homework for you to ponder.)

The Cover-up Committee

May 14, 2017 – The events in Sycamore at the beginning of April were an all-too-telling reenactment of the Elgin PD Good Ole Boy’s club that is alive and well. People in Elgin have been so duped by our chief for so long that this is a mere fly in the ointment for Glenn.  Swoboda will hold his hand through it all.

Next will be 20-30 posts/stories somewhere about how wonderful a person he is. We see it here every week. it’s a 20:1 ratio of good/fluffy/rainbow and unicorn stories to every 1 post about crime on the Elgin Police Department Facebook page.  The page should probably be renamed “The Jeff Swoboda Fan-Club” page.

Cover-ups like what’s being attempted in Sycamore, have been going on for years here as far back as 10 years ago when officer Phil Brown led Bartlett Police on a chase. Brown was charged with driving under the influence, fleeing and eluding police, speeding and disobeying a stop sign. He got continuances on the case for 2 years. Finally Bartlett PD stopped sending cops to his court-dates and the first day they didn’t show up, his lawyer asked the judge to dismiss the charges, and she did. Brown came out smelling like a rose because in the middle of all this, he cried “racism” and the media reported that and dragged a good-cop though the mud, instead of his drunken-blunder coming home from Deputy Chief Beeter’s wedding reception.  He was also caught in an FBI wiretap back around the same time period but that seems to have been cleansed from the Internet. Go figure.

In June of 2016, someone posted a video on one of the Elgin websites that showed a police officer beating a subject on Chicago St. Hours after posting that someone messaged me and asked if I’d seen it. It was removed from FB pretty quick but I did see it. I said the subject probably had it coming and not to always spin it so the cop’s the bad-guy. They sent back that the cop was a “hot-head” and shouldn’t be a cop, and could prove it. They then said to look how many times the police were at his house for domestic voilence calls. I immediately sent an FOIA to Elgin Police Department asking for any and all reports, internals or memos regarding Sgt. Eric Echevarria. Their reply was:

No Such Files Exist

That was not true, in the least.

Echevarria CAD Event Data

2 reports (Report numbers: 11-01-1355 & 2015-00004640) existed where Echevarria’s wife called police on him. In one instance, she walked into the police department to make a complaint. She was talked out of it by his superiors (again). If the wife HAD pressed charges against her husband and he was convicted, it would have been illegal for the Sgt. to possess a handgun. Illinois law says:

If you have been convicted of domestic battery (felony or misdemeanor), aggravated domestic battery or a substantially similar offense, you are not eligible to obtain an Firearm Owner’s Identification Card so….he couldn’t be a cop, but Swoboda & Company wasn’t going to let that happen.

No charges were pursued and EPD literally protected the information from anyone trying to get it through conventional means and even promoted Officer Echevarria to Sergeant. He’s rising quickly…..but should he be?

Echevarria was also part of the Puerto Rico expedition where the City spent thousands of dollars and sent police officers to find “Hispanic” police-candidates. They wined and dined people on their mini-vacation and the came back with 1 name and THAT guy person bounced out of the police academy so the trip was a total loss….except for those who got the free vacation on our dime.

In 2010, Lt. Matt Udelhoven was witnessed (by other officers) at the scene of a suicide taking photos of the dead body…with his personal phone. The suicide victim was 12 years old.  It was reported to (then) Deputy Chief Cecil Smith who  quietly with no paperwork, turned it over to (then) Lt. Glenn Theriault for investigation. No report or paperwork was ever written on this. No disciplinary paperwork whatsoever. In a very short and to the point letter to the Police and Fire Commission, Chief Swoboda said that Lt. Udelhoven requested to be “returned to the rank of Sergeant due to personal matters”.

Why Phil Brown and Eric Echevarria you ask? Why them as the Chief’s pets? So he can use them as his token “minorities”. Parade them around and say “EPD is not racist……..look what I’ve done for these pathetic police officers in spite of themselves”. The City was sued by 6 black officers in the 90’s.  This was insurance and publicity that would make the City (especially Swoboda) look like choir-boys should it ever be sued again.  Even if it was at the direct expense of decorated Police Lt. Sean Rafferty.  The local papers made Brown’s incident more about a false racial discord, than it did about a misfit cop.

Jeff Swoboda developed something called “Hero Syndrome” (it’s a real thing!). Someone who creates bad scenarios so they can appear to fix them and save…whoever or whatever. Just look at the Elgin Police Department’s Facebook page! You’ll find more stories about Jeff Swoboda and people or organizations celebrating him, than you will about anything else. Look at the department profile picture!  It’s HIM! Go through the pictures of their community meetings like the “Coffee with a Cop” community meetings. You’ll see a few pics of the events, but not much detail. You’ll see 10-12 cops at these things, but not anywhere near as many citizens attending. You’ll never see video.  In fact, most of the people who attend these are the same people over and over again. His “fan-club” so to speak (mainly Seniors) & CERT Team members (volunteers). They’ll go anywhere for free cookies & coffee.

I once suggested broadcasting these events on YouTube Live or Facebook Live, but the Chief said it would be too….impersonal.

I also suggested a sign-in sheet for these events…..that went ignored because then it would be too easy to prove what I’m saying as true.

Swoboda friend (and Good Ole boy) Robert Beeter lost his job for his stupidity, but skated jail time because the Chief told him to put back the money he’d stolen from his ex-wife. He’d already committed a felony….but the Chief made it…nothing.  A Deputy Chief of a big-city police department ripping his ex-wife off for $8500 would not play well to the media.

There are many stories like these inside the Elgin Police Department but you rarely hear them because they’re cloaked in secrecy and only if you know exactly where to look and what to ask for, can you find them.

Now that you’ve read the above highlighting only Brown, Echevarria, Udelhoven and Beeter,  Consider what they did to Jason Lentz for……a Facebook post. Paul Sharp! he’s one of the best cops on the department and they’ve relegated him to desk-duty because someone complained he pushed em. These were opportunities for Swoboda to remove the squeeky-wheels.  They failed to produce any criminal charges agains Sharp and well……we all know Lentz got his job back with back-pay!  That had to kill Swoboda.

Paul Sharp and Jason Lentz spoke up long ago about the Good ole boy network in place at EPD. They got hung out to dry….while those who shouldn’t even have a badge right now were allowed to get (or keep) their pensions, or in Echevarria’s case….promoted with a free vacation.

Now the tradition is continuing out of town.

Wake up Sycamore.

Sycamore PD’s Investigation into DUI Un-arresting of Elgin Police Sgt., Haulted?

Sycamore PD’s Investigation into DUI Un-arresting of Elgin Police Sgt., Haulted?

1.How did Sycamore’s city manager Brian Gregory find out about Glenn Therialt’s self-destruction that night?

2.  Will other officers from the Sycamore Police Department come forward with more information now that retaliation by their former Chief is unlikely?  Apparently Theriault was not well-liked. (I wonder why?)

3.  Will Elgin Police Sgt. Mark Whaley have his license suspended as required by law for anyone who refuses a field-sobriety test?  If not, I imagine everyone arrested for DUI in northern Illinois will now be citing “The Whaley Clause” reciting the words “I don’t wanna take any tests!”

I also heard form sources last week that the investigation by Sycamore PD into Glenn Theriault’s self-destruction, was itself, suspended.  This was substantiated today with their response for more information when they simply denied the request.  Why would they do that?  Here’s why….

Theriault has already caused this little city more grief than he’s worth, but if nothing else becomes of this, nothing will happen to Elgin Police Sergeant Mark Whaley, and he’s basically responsible for the entire ordeal.

According to the Daily Herald’s June 6th story, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said “Any actions taken that night by Theriault were outside Elgin’s jurisdiction”.  While true, the calls to EPD’s Cmdr. Colin Fleury in the early hours of April 8th, suggest while “it was outside Elgin’s jurisdiction”, it apparently wasn’t outside Elgin’s Police Department’s influence.  Whaley had already been booked for DUI and was then “un-arrested”.  Also, anyone who operates a motor vehicle on any road in this state has consented to testing of his blood, breath, or urine. Anyone who fails such testing, or refuses it altogether, will have his license suspended according to Illinois Law.

Elgin Police Deputy Chief Bill Wolf later in that same DH article said this key phrase:

Elgin police launched a formal investigation — meaning Whaley could receive three or more days’ suspension. They hope to receive Sycamore’s investigation report before making a determination.”

But……if in fact, the investigation was suspended in Sycamore, there will be no “report” or findings to make that decision by.  They will have succeeded once again (Remember Elgin Police Officer Phil Brown’s DUI?), in making a DUI charge against a police officer, disappear.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::POOOOOOOOOF!!!:::::::::::::::::::

It’s like….magic.

 

 

 

 

Don’t get burned by the still-smoldering embers.

June 1, 2017 – By Bill O’Neill

For the last year now, the City of Elgin has been failing to produce documents specifically asked for via FOIA.  The Freedom of Information Act is not only state law, but Federal as well.  It’s intent is to assure to us (anyone tax-paying citizen), transparency in government.  The City of Elgin has been using FOIA’s for the opposite.  It shields the elitists most of the time, by burning others as a diversion.

Specifics you ask?  Well….a year ago I was informed by someone of an officer’s bad temper and said that if I didn’t believe it, to look at the officer’s history of domestic violence.  The officer in question was Sgt. Eric Echevarria.  So I did that.  I FOIA’d the department for complaints or internal reports concerning him.  Their reply?  “none exist”.  I knew at least one report in 2015 did in fact, “exist” so now I had to get creative.  I knew everything about this case down to the report number.  After another 6 months of beating around the bush only to get stonewalled, I finally got that report which  proved what I’m typing tonight is in fact, fact.  I received not only that, but more. One incident even occurring at a city-owned Rope house!  The only way they released that report was when I had to ask for it by address.  It clearly had Eric Echevarria’s name in it.  That one should have been returned when I asked for reports involving him in June of last year.  Instead, they juke and run at every opportunity.

Speaking of that (city-owned) ROPE house, These photos (click here for the full album!) are also from that same ROPE house.  Big deal you say….some under-age teen scantily dressed, took a photo by a squad-car.  Look closer at the photo.  Aside from this being a party AT the ROPE house, this (then only 19 years old) underage teen is holding a beer, she’s posing her crotch-shot on the top of an Elgin Squad with (then Lt.) Deputy Chief Bill Wolf clearly in the background watching.

I’ve said this at least 100 times over the last year.  When you’re in the clique, you’re golden.  God help you though if you’re not in their clique.  They’ll shove you out, light you on fire and watch you burn while they’re enjoying a cool beer and an underage chick posing for photos.  These photos were from 10/27/2007.  Yeah, they’re 10 years old but the only thing that fact holds relevant, is again, what I’ve said 101 times now….When you’re in the clique, you’re golden.  

A short time after these photos were taken for the pleasure of Lt. Bill Wolf, they threw one of their own into the pit and lit em on fire to protect another clique-member, officer Phil Brown.  The officer then sacrificed was Lt. Sean Rafferty.  Probably the best, most decorated & honest police officer on the department but now being accused of racism because he was chosen as the officer to conduct the internal investigation into Phil Brown’s clusterf*ck.  This was their only way out, their smoke-screen so they executed their plan and the Daily Herald and Courier Newspapers of course did all they could to see he burned to a crisp, even if it was for no other reason than to protect the clique.  Once the smoke and mirrors were pulled out, Rafferty’s flawless career was tarnished and Brown…..he went back to being a school liaison officer at Elgin High School where he is now.

What no one ever reported about that photograph of Rafferty and Wolek is that there was third person in that picture originally.  Officer Al Young. A young-black officer who was cut out of the picture because…. how could they use that for calling him a racist, if he’s with a black officer? Since then, the newspapers have done all they could to enforce the falsehoods these people are handing down as facts, and our City Council just sits on their hands.

Fast-Forward to 2014.  Jason Lentz bucked the system when reporting his Lt. Matt Udelhoven for taking inappropriate photos of a 12 year old female suicide victim.  Udelhoven received no disciplinary actions for his tasteless act according to the City.  He simply and quietly requested to be self-demoted back to Sgt.  This alone has to tell you how absolutely vile this was, that they were forced to deal with it concerning one of their own now…..but without shame and certainly not the fan-fair of Rafferty, Lentz or Sharp.  Unlike Lentz who’s name on the internet yeilds 100’s maybe 1000’s of returns linking him to a supposedly questionable post on Facebook but good luck finding the articles that reported that the City cleared him of any wrong-doing.  Jason Lentz got his job back, with back-pay.

Next on their hit-list was officer Paul Sharp.  Right up there with Rafferty and Lentz as being one of the best, he made someones’s sh*t-list and the next thing you know, he’s also being threatened with termination.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t get the Kane County State’s Attorney to see it their way so they had to keep him on the payroll.  Yeah, they stuck him behind a desk but I’m sure  it kills them every day to still see him there! 😉

In January of this year, my first FOIA to the City was for emails to and from Jeff Swoboda for 2015 & 2016.  (It was apparent over the year that they were not forthcoming with some documents I’d asked foor. Side-note: Previously in 2014 and 2015 I had FOIA’d the department for emails to and from Sean Stegall (then City Manager) and emails regarding Jason Lentz and Paul Sharp.  The City had no problem returning these to me and in one case, because the number of emails, provided them on a disc.

Elgin Police Department is riddled with great cops who live under the thumb of 2 people and they can’t complain about anything because, who would they complain to? Most of their supervisors are so far up the Chief’s butt he no longer requires an endoscopy every year.  At the stroke of a carefully worded “Press Release”, they’ll trash whoever tries to oppose them BS story and the papers will print it because after all,  it’s an “official press release” from the Chief!  Make no mistake, one hand washes the other when it comes to the 2 local papers.

It’s June 1st, 6 months after my first request and I still have not received what I asked for on January 1st of this year.  In March, I even lessened my request to only be for emails for 1 year.  As of today, I haven’t received those either.  Complaints have been filed with the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

The Police Chief, and Deputy Chief apparently believe they’re above the law.  Is it any wonder that former Elgin Police Department Commander Glenn Theriault UN-ARRESTED EPD Sgt. Mark Whaley?  This is just a continuation of the standing “system” and the only people who have the ability to change it, are our Mayor, Dave Kaptain and our City Council.  I’ve created an email address on Elginet that if you send one-email to, to are sending it to all of them, including the new City Manager Rick Kozal.  That email address is ElginCityCouncil@elginet.com

PLEASE feel free to send them a message asking them for once and for all, to provide the open/transparent government, our State has guaranteed us BY LAW.

What the City of Elgin needs, is a Citizen Police oversight committee that looks into these questionable cases and calls out the falsehoods contained in them.  Maybe call it the Elgin Crime Commission.  Because they’re things this Administration is not telling you regarding crimes but….there’s no checks and balance system so they can get away with it forever if we let them.  People on this committee must be something other than the bobbing heads that have been on other committees.

 

 

 

Where’s Sycamore Police Chief Glenn Theriault?

May 21, 2017 – Where’s Glenn? 43 Days without so much as a simple comment after the very public un-arrest of former work-buddy Mark Whaley, a Sergeant on the Elgin Police Department!

43 days since Sycamore Police Chief “un-arrested” Elgin Police Department Mark Whaley for DUI.  Keep in mind, it was almost a month before any of this information was even put out there which leads one to believe that they really thought it would just go away, unnoticed.

Video of the 1:40am traffic stop by Sycamore Police Officer Luke Kampmeier pretty much shows us an (allegedly) impaired driver who couldn’t remember what he’d told the police officer less than a minute before.  That driver, Elgin Police Sergeant Mark Whaley appeared agitated when Kampmeier asked simple questions like “where are you coming from?” to which his answer changed from having just dropped off his wife and kid, to coming from training..  Once told he would have to get out of the vehicle, Whaley clearly states more than once, that he wasn’t going to or didn’t want to take any (field-sobriety) tests.  Such a response by the average driver in Illinois would yield an instant suspension of your driving privileges.  I also find it hard to believe that Whaley was unarmed.  A member of Elgin Police Department’s SWAT team supposedly “coming from training”.  Think about that one for a few minutes.

80 minutes after being arrested, Whaley was released with Kampmeier stating “well it looks like you’re going to be un-arrested”.  Whaley got his personal items and left and one of the officers was ordered to take Sgt. Whaley home.

Nothing about this story surfaced for weeks.  Not until April 26th, did anyone in Sycamore or Elgin learn of this until the Daily Chronicle published the story about Theriault being on an indefinite paid leave.  18 days.  Even then it took weeks for Sycamore PD to release information via FOIA.  By State Law, they have 5 days to respond to a FOIA request, and the ability to request another 5 days.  By that time though, the truth was out there, just not being acknowledged.  Clearly there was an over-step of the legal process by the Chief Glenn Theriault, not to mention the ethical issues but what we don’t know is who or what brought attention to it in the first place to make the City Manager place him on paid-leave during the internal investigation?

Then you need to think about the Elgin Sgt. who was arrested (or un-arrested!) for DUI in the first place.  Was the Kampmeier wrong in making that arrest?  Video evidence says no.  If this was a headlight out, or just rolling a stop-sign, I could see a professional courtesy letting the officer go with a warning.  Lord knows, it’s happened out there enough with another Elgin Police Officer.

Sources told Elginet that Elgin Police Officer Linda Williamson had been pulled over by Sycamore PD as well as Kane County and Dekalb County Sheriff’s office for excessively speeding and in all but one instance, she received that professional courtesy. One Sgt. however, decided enough was enough though and decided she would get a citation for doing 95mph in a 50 zone.  The early morning hours of April 8th I would say more than warranted the stop (hearing Whaley on the Dashcam video) or…. they were sick of extending that courtesy again.

Regardless, answers need to be given.  What’s happening to Theriault?  Here’s what my money’s on.

Glenn Theriault is negotiating a golden parachute (Much like EPD’s Robert Beeter), in exchange for his resignation. Then in a month or so when things die down, he’ll turn up someplace like Rockford PD working with his old pal Dan O’Shea.

As for Whaley……he’ll probably get the same punishment handed to him, that was given to a U46 School Resource Officer Phil Brown years ago.  A 1-day suspension.

Keep asking questions Sycamore and Elgin!

 

 

Sycamore Police Chief Theriault placed on leave

For those of you who are just joining us, the long and short of the story is that Sycamore Police Chief Glenn Theriault, a former Elgin Police Department Commander, was removed from his post and placed on (paid) leave for an incident that as of right now, we only know to have occurred on April 8th or 9th of this year.

Sources told Elginet Media 2 weeks ago of this incident and said it had involved the DUI arrest of an Elgin Police Sergeant.  After making us wait for maximum amount of time allowed by Illinois FOIA laws, the city released to me, a list of DUI Arrests for 2017.  In that list, the name of an Elgin Police Sergeant (Mark Whaley) was in fact present.  The entire story wreaks of the Elgin PD “Good Ole-Boy” system that’s been in place for years.

The DUI list consisted of name, citation number and arresting officer.  In the list of 37 names, 2 had the citation number missing.  One of them was for Mark Whaley.  This can only be seen as one more way to prolong the media from getting to all of the information so we can keep the residents of Elgin and Sycamore informed.

Here is a timeline and details of the event as we now know from yesterday’s disclosure.

04/08th or 9th, 2017 –  We still have no idea exactly what or what time this incident occurred, but we do know that it was a very serious incident.  Sources and documents obtained yesterday point to something that occurred with the DUI arrest of Mark Whaley

04/11/2017 7:52 am – Chief Theriault emails city manager Brian Gregory to confirm an earlier (text?) conversation saying:

Not sure if my text went through …
Still in dismay. Now that I’ve had some time to digest however I’d like to have a brief conversation early this morning before you get going. Just want to offer a few thoughts, particularly as it relates to what happens after this given I am extremely confident the outcome will be exonerated. Should be no more than 5-10 minutes.

Deny, Deny, Deny!  Apparently his talk didn’t do well.

04/11/2017 12:15pm Chief Theriault is sent his “Leave Letter”. That letter from the city manager states:

Dear Glenn:
After further consideration and review, I have determined that the best option for all is to place you on temporary paid administrative leave effective April 11, 2017 pending the outcome of an internal investigation. During the period of your administrative leave you are forbidden from exercising statutory police powers or taking any police action beyond that available as a citizen. During your administrative leave, you may not be on City property without my authorization. You are also ordered to turn in your department issued firearm, badge, police department identification card, car, and any other City owned property to myself.

While on leave you are not to have contact with anyone in the City of Sycamore organization and shall direct any questions to me.

04/12/2017 11:05am – Deputy Chief Jim Winters sends the following broadcast email to everyone inside Sycamore Police Department:

To all Sycamore Police Department Employees:

The City Is conducting an internal investigation into events that took place on April 8 and 9, 2017, involving the arrest of an individual for driving under the influence. In order for the City to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, I am directing you to preserve all documents and electronically stored information that may be relevant to this Investigation. This includes, but is not limited to:

Any arrest records from April 8 and 9, 2017;

Any in-squad video from April 8 and 9, 2017;

Any video from inside the Police Department from April 8 and 9, 2017; and

Any e-mails, faxes, correspondence, reports, summaries or records of conversations, notes, or any other documents or information regarding the events of April 8 and 9, 2017, no matter where they are located.

04/12/2017 2:11pm – The Sycamore city manager sends a broadcast email to all employees telling them that there is an internal investigation (which everyone should already know about!) This email also tells employees that a firm has been retained to conduct an independent investigation on the City’s behalf. (Shouldn’t this be investigated by the Illinois State Police???) That email states the following:

All Police Personnel,

The City is in the process of conducting an internal investigation Into events that took place on April 8 and 9, 2017, involving the arrest of an Individual for driving under the influence, and related matters. In addition to legal counsel, the City has retained REM Management Services Inc. to conduct an independent Investigation on the City’s behalf. I urge anyone who may be contacted by REM to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation. During the pendency of the investigation, please do not discuss this matter with anyone else, other than your Union representative or legal counsel.

Brian Gregory

04/24/2017 7:36am – The City Manager receives an email from a firm called Hillard Heitze Professional Standards Services which appears to be a solicitation letter to the city for their services. Why this information was enclosed in the FOIA request is a baffler. The Deputy Chief had already said the City had retained REM Management Services, Inc 12 days prior, to conduct the investigation. Is the City of Sycamore doubling-down on their investigation? I wonder what the cost of this will be?

Stay Tuned.  We will bring you more information as soon as we have it.

 

 

 

Flying Meigs – by  Bill O’Neill

Flying Meigs – by Bill O’Neill

Meigs Field after Demolition Dick's midnight raid on April 3, 2003. Photo Credit - Precision Aerial Photography

Meigs Field after Demolition Dick’s midnight raid on April 3, 2003. Photo Credit – Precision Aerial Photography

On a chilly night in Chicago about 22 years ago, myself, my partner and a friend (all 3 of us pilots) decided to do the night-run into Meigs Field (formerly CGX) in Chicago. For those of you who’ve ever had the pleasure to do this (before Demolition Dick got a hold of it, that is…), even on a bad night, it was spectacular and this night it was 25°, not even a smidgen of wind and absolutely crystal clear for as far as you could see

We rented my favorite Archer II from Northwest Flyers in Schaumburg (06C) and departed the pattern to the SW to fly the VFR corridor to the lakefront. I always loved talking to the controllers at Midway Airport (KMDW). Always professional, and gave every small GA aircraft in their airspace, the same courtesy they gave the big-boys. The controller asked me to let them know when I’d passed 2 miles NE, so I did so, then they handed us off to Meigs’ tower. We told Meigs of our intentions, to fly NB at 1500-2000’ along the shoreline for 3 miles, circle back and do it again, that we were on a photo-mission.  He acknowledged us, and we flew along the first time at 2000′, and took in the sights.  On our 2nd and final time around, when giving our position of 1 mile South of the airport, turning N again for the second pass, I just kind of muttered (when we were mid-field):

“what a view we have up here tonight!”  to the controller below me.  I felt sorry for him!  He sounded so utterly bored!

Expecting silence, like we’d had since checking in with him all of a sudden he responds with “You should see it from where I‘m sitting! I wish I had a camera.”.

I keyed up and said “well…..we have a camera.”

Without hesitation, he responded “83 Bravo, cleared to land runway one-eight, nobody else in the pattern, use the tower tie-downs”….all in that ATC monotone voice. No emotion whatsoever.  Now I was wondering what I’d gotten us into.

I made a close in right-base and final, then executed the most perfect landing I’d done in a long time. I envisioned people applauding me for that landing from inside the terminal, when reality was, we were 3 of probably 5 people total at Meigs that night. 😉 We made the 2nd turn-off, went to the tower tie-downs and hopped out of the airplane.

Now……I’m an old HAM radio guy so talking on the radio while training for my PPL was second nature, but unlike HAM radio, you don’t sit and “chat” with controllers about fishing or trimming your VHF whip too short,  In fact……. I always pictured every controller I’ve ever spoken with from an airplane, looking like Jack Webb in Dragnet. White shirt, black tie, clean-cut looking like Beaver Cleaver’s Father dressed for Sunday dinner and always, serious as a heart-attack.   We walked through a door at the base of the tower and saw a (really tall) metal ladder so…we climbed it. We got ¾ of the way up, (still not quite 100% sure we were in the right place) when someone opens the hatch at the top and all you could hear echoing down that hole was Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven (right at the part where the drums come crashing in and the lead-solo starts!) We finished the climb up and shook hands with this guy with moderately long-hair in a Hawaiian shirt who says “Welcome to Meig’s, man!  Yeah……mind blown! (yeah….he totally blew that stereotype out the door!)

We talked for a while (we were his only traffic the whole time we were there) and having never been in a control tower before, being a pilot and a radio-geek, I was loving it. He showed us the door for the cat-walk around the tower and we went out, and yes, he was 100% absolutely correct. His view of downtown Chicago that night was every bit as cool as ours was at 1500‘ and better than that…his choice in music was exquisite! What I didn’t know at the time was that, THAT would be my one and last visit IN the CGX tower. I took

My Bell 47 model with a chunk of asphalt from the destroyed runway at Meigs Field.

My Bell 47 model with a chunk of asphalt from the destroyed runway at Meigs Field.

great pride in getting my PPL, As a kid, I grew-up on shows like SkyHawks and Sky King (yeah, I had a crush on Penny too, who didn’t?), and religiously watched Chuck and P.T. from WhilyBirds save the world with their Bell 47 (which I have a model of sitting next to me along with a chunk of the runway from Meigs as I write this), but never really considered myself a real-pilot until I took-off and landed at Meigs Field, and once licensed, I did so regularly whenever I could.  I conducted many business deals down there whenever possible.

We took our photos and stood outside talking when my buddy noticed a white van with a yellow gumball flashing on it, parked by the plane and someone was walking around our airplane. We went back into the tower and the controller told us that it was the City looking for their $8 landing fee. I thought we were in trouble.  The guy had absolutely no idea we were in the tower. Suddenly, watching this guy look for us had us laughing in hysterics.  He had to be thinking it was the “Ghost-Pilot”.  😉

After he left and drove back to the terminal we laughed for a few more minutes then decided it was time to head out so we went back down the ladder. We were almost at the bottom of the ladder when all of a sudden we heard more Zeppelin blaring again and looked up, when the controller had opened the hatch and stuck his head down the hole and quietly said:

“83 Bravo, cleared for immediate take off! Have a great night guys!”

We all started laughing again and did our best John Belushi impressions (from Animal House), tip-toeing back to the airplane, gave it a quick look-over, jumped in, started it up, taxied with no lights to the departure-end of 36, did a quick run-up and got the hell out of Dodge. I flew the length of the runway about 50’ off the deck to gain airspeed and then we saw the van come flying out of the terminal towards the tower and we were again, in tears laughing. “MISSED US AGAIN” we laughed! (they actually had the last laugh and sent that $8 bill to the aircraft’s owner. 😉  We did a 240° turn over the lake and then over Meigs and followed the same route home as we did coming down.

An old Piper Aircraft ad featuring Meigs in the background. Someone knew that value of Chicago's Gem on the Lakefront.

An old Piper Aircraft ad featuring Meigs in the background. Someone knew that value of Chicago’s Gem on the Lakefront.

It was about a year after that when Dick tried the first time to close Meigs in 1996. I remember the day vividly.  It was my birthday in 1996 so I packed up the wife and kids and went down there to witness the last planes leaving CGX. (it was only closed for 4 months though) That attempt to close the airport was only temporarily thwarted until the Mayor had his head-henchman Frank Kruesi assemble construction equipment to permanently (and criminally) destroy the runway in the infamous midnight raid of April 6, 2003.  Why nobody was ever criminally charged in that ordeal I’ll never know.  (well…yeah, we know why, but they should had been!)

That night will always stick out in my mind though as my personal favorite aviation moment, and of course, every time I hear Stairway to Heaven now, I’m in that tower in hysterics! 😉

East Dundee PD talks down driver in suicide attempt, and then……

_wco1986-copyOctober 26, 2016 – EAST DUNDEE

Yesterday morning Quadcom received a phone call from a trucking company about a truck driver who had threatened harming himself.  The driver was parked behind the old Wal-Mart on Rt72 in a tractor-trailer.  East Dundee Police located the vehicle, slowly approached it and established communications with the driver who they’d then learned, had already sliced his arm with a box-cutter.  The officer was able to keep the driver from doing any further harm to himself, and eventually (after 40 min or so) he was able to get him out of the vehicle so Fire Department paramedics could treat his self-inflicted wound.

Great job by the East Dundee Police.…but this story doesn’t end here.

After they got him out of the truck and were treating him for his injury, it was discovered that the subject was being sought by Terra Haute, Indiana Police in connection with a homicide investigation. For more on this story, check this link (http://bit.ly/2ewbni7) to a newscast regarding this individual.  The subject was taken into custody after being treated at St. Alexis Hospital in Hoffman Estates and is currently at Kane County jail awaiting extradition to Terra Haute._wco1998-copy

Again, great job East Dundee Police!!!

Elgin 3rd Qtr.Crime Stats – You need to read this!

October 24, 2016 – On July 7th of this year, Elgin’s Chief of Police Jeff Swoboda, put released Video on their Facebook page regarding the mid-year crime stats citing that Armed Robberies were up a little, and so were burglaries….and shootings….etc.  Then he made the statement that “our streets were safer than they were!”  You’ll often hear him recite this over and, word for word.  When he says “crime is at a 40-year low!”, know that he’s talking about one specific crime, like thefts of pencils or slimjims at 7-11.  Make no mistake.  Robberies are way up.  Shootings are way up!  In fact, let’s talk about shootings a little.

Don't ever call me a liar on FB. I'll hit you with facts so hard your head will spin for a week.

Don’t ever call me a liar on FB. I’ll hit you with facts so hard your head will spin for a week.

This past June, after EPD posted a story about a shooting arrest on their Facebook page, I asked about the other 3 shootings that had occurred within that 24 hour period on June 29th & 30th.  Elgin city councilman Terry Gavin said he wasn’t aware of any other shootings so I posted  actual report numbers (taken right from CrimeReports.com haha!) for the incidents and the good councilman responded “Totally false Bill!”, and said that “the calls were probably fireworks because, it IS 4th of July weekend Bill!”

So, let’s be perfectly clear for Councilman Gavin, they were in fact, shooting calls.  4 reports within a 24 hour period leading up to the big 4th of July weekend!  The councilman owes me an apology, but I won’t hold my breath.

A week or so ago when EPD posted about the September 11th shootings on the east side, (yes, there’s been quite a few this year!), I asked a simple question about the second shooting that night at the same location.  In all, 30 rounds of spent shell-casings were found.  At the first call there were six .45 cal. rounds found.  20 minutes after officers left that call, there was another shooting where 24 spent shell-casings were found. These were 9mm.  When I posted this info, the person administering the EPD Facebook page insinuated that I was lying saying that my information was wrong.  Of course, what she was referring to was the timetable I mentioned.  I mistakenly said the shootings were 20 minutes apart when they were 2½ hours apart, ‘my bad.  The facts are, as I stated them above.  I will be posting the actual reports as obtained via FOIA from the Elgin Police Department.  And again…… an apology is in order, but I won’t hold my breath on this one either.  I’m asking the questions that any reporter ( and I’m actually a Photographer, not a reporter!) should be asking, but since the PD has road-blocked the media from information as it happens, it’s harder than ever to get news out.  I thought this was news.  So did others.  Chief Swoboda thought otherwise.  When someone asked on FB why there wasn’t more information put out about this shooting, he responded with:

“the narrative that we aren’t posting information is false. In addition to our posts on Facebook (see below), we discussed the incident on Friday with the Fuzz, at the Chief’s Community Meeting and at the Blackhawk neighborhood meeting. We conducted two canvasses and a Walk and Talk. The information was also on crimereports.com. “

This is just a quick snapshot of serious crimes in the past 90 days. Read the story for the full link.

This is just a quick snapshot
of serious crimes in the past 90 days. Read the story for the full link.

Yeah….they knocked on doors, and maybe talked about it at a church meeting about Parking.  This way it was contained.  On Facebook, they most recently started hash-tagging the more serious items with #EPDCommunityNotification or just #CommunityNotification.  That’s the best way to sift through the unicorn and puppy posts.

This is the Chief’s new ‘out’.  “It’s listed on Crimereports.com so that’s being transparent”. Good luck finding things though unless you already know what you’re looking for.  Yes, they did post on Facebook about doing a “Walk-n-Talk” and I’m sure he gave a brief mention about it on the WRMN radio show (who the f*** watches or listens to that crap?).  And where were the local papers on this?  Where was the Chicago Tribune or The Daily Herald* when this happened?  30 shots fired at a house…….. and not a peep!  You should be concerned.  Real concerned.

Here’s a quick snap-shot of  the more-serious crimes in Elgin for the first 3 quarters of 2016.  Give it a quick look and then ask yourself how many of these stories have been in the news?

More info coming soon!

(The Daily Herald DID report the arrest of someone possibly connected in the June 29th shooting, but simmply quoted a Press Release by EPD.   The only time we find something out these days, is when they decide to tell us about it.)