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
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)