A crucial interview in the police department’s ongoing investigation into one of its own will be conducted later this month when Village Attorney Michael Durkin meets with an officer accused of raping a woman in mid-August.
That officer, who is on paid suspension pending the outcome of the internal review, could lose his job with the village if he’s found to have violated department policy.
The Cook County State’s Attorney has already ruled there is “insufficient evidence” to bring criminal charges. That decision was made following a state police investigation of the woman’s claims. What remains to be seen is whether the officer will face sanctions imposed by the Forest Park Police Department.
According to Durkin, much of that decision hinges on what is said during the upcoming interrogation, scheduled for the week of Oct. 22.
“I don’t have to go by the state’s attorney’s decision,” Durkin said.
Durkin and Police Chief Jim Ryan have a host of dispositions available to them, ranging from termination to restoring the officer to duty. State law allows for the village to suspend the officer for a maximum of five days without pay. Any further disciplinary action would be subject to a hearing before the Fire and Police Commission.
The officer has been on paid leave since the allegation was filed.
This newspaper will not identify the accuser in the case and would only name the officer if any punitive action is taken.
The internal review of the officer’s conduct is separate from any criminal investigation. Durkin declined to reveal which policies are being used to assess the officer’s behavior.
According to a police report generated by the Forest Park Police Department, the officer and his accuser met at a Madison Street bar the evening of the alleged assault on Aug. 11. Witness statements indicate the two were familiar with one another, though the nature of their relationship was not made clear in the heavily redacted report released by the village. The officer was off-duty at the time of the alleged encounter.