Elgin Police Drone Grounded During Search By Local News Chopper

Chopper grounds Police Drone

FOX32/CBS2 News-Chopper grounded Police Drone during search.

August 29, 2017 – Elgin Police and Kane County Forest Preserve Police conducted a search of the hiking trails in Fitchie Forest Preserve on Elgin’s far-west side for what a caller believed may had been a disorientated elderly woman.  The perfect tool for this job was our police department’s new $12K DJI drone. EPD posted at about 10am on their Facebook page about the search and it apparently drew attention from one of the local news stations who then sent their helicopter over the area.

Once the chopper was heard, the drone-pilot for the police department had to ground the drone. I was perched at the entrance to the forest preserve hoping to catch a glimpse at our police department’s new toy but instead saw a squad pull up with the drone in the back.  It was then unloaded and put back in it’s case until the next time it may be called out. Did it crash too?

EPD Searching for possible disorientated woman

Just FYI for those of you with drones who live in the Elgin, Illinois  area, we have 2 hospitals in town and both of them have helipads.  Legally, you are required to notify airport management (or in this case, Hospital within 2nm)  before you fly your drone (FAA Reg107.43).  Even though hospital helipads are considered “private” heliports by the FAA, you are still required to make notification…….Even police & fire Departments.  (A call to both hospitals yesterday after this incident discovered that no such calls were received by anyone.).  I sought further clarification from the FAA directly today and all they would do is cite 107.43 but did confirm that in the case of “hospital” helipads especially, contact needs to be made.  It’s not hard, it only takes 2 minutes.  It needs to be done.
My friend Tammy Chapman at Flight For Life, an EMS Helicopter provider, has made this cause for informing drone-pilots of this information paramount.  It’s something I feel though, that needs to be handled more at the local-level as it varies greatly with the area you live.  It may cause a few more phone-calls to the hospital’s security office (as it should) but it’s better to be safe, than sorry.  Not doing so could cause a delay in response time in a life or death transport of a patient and I think it’s safe to say that if they’re being transported by air, it’s an urgent transport.  
Listed below are the phone numbers for Sherman Hospital and St. Joseph’s (respectively).  Ask the operator for the “Security office”.  (You might want to ask who you speak with and note the time of your call as well.)  I will compile a list of all hospital heliports in Illinois and Wisconsin later in the week.  Hospital heliports are NOT listed on an aviation sectional chart. To find them, you can look at SkyVector.com.  For our area you would enter ORD and then at the top-right corner of the screen choose “Chicago Heli”.  This is what you will find for our area.  

Helicopter Aviation Chart w/Legend

Sherman Hospital: 847-742-9800
St. Joes: 847-695-3200

This incident yesterday with Elgin Police Department having to ground their drone emphasizes the issue of “communications”.  News-Media helicopter pilots in the Chicago area have a specific VHF frequency (123.025mhz AM) they communicate with each other on when over a scene.  When you see 3 or 4 news choppers over something, know that they are talking to each other.  That communications network needs to be expanded to include FAA Part 107 licensed UAV operations for media and public safety as well.  The 2 can coexist in the same airspace safely, as long as they’re communicating with each other.

Icom IC-A24 Aviation Hand-Held

Icom IC-A24 Aviation Hand-Held

Communicating would require a special portable (aviation) radio like the one in the photo to the left as well as the procedure in how to use it.  While not cheap, it truly is a necessity if you are flying for a news-organization, Police or Fire department and I can see there being some resistance by the Helicopter pilots.  Let’s face it, they hate drones.  While most will cite safety concerns, there needs to be just one fact brought into the conversation. There have been zero (0) deaths caused by sUAVs.  You cannot say the same for EMS or News-choppers.  That said, I feel there needs to be more emphasis on “Communcations” in the FAA’s 107 requirements.  Also since the FAA has waived their magic-wand and made sUAVs “Aircraft” by definition so they can regulate them, there needs to be registration of aircraft and a “D-Number” issued to those aircraft if for no other reason, communications-identification.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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!