Highlights from OIG activity from October 1 through December 31, 2015 are summarized below.
- An OIG investigation that found a Commission on Animal Care and Control (CACC) employee left a dog in a CACC vehicle for five full five days and nights after an adoption event. The investigation also revealed that a supervising CACC employee’s lack of control over the offsite adoption event contributed to the dog being left undiscovered in the vehicle. CACC suspended the employee who left the dog in the vehicle for 20 days without pay and the supervising employee for 10 days without pay. CACC also suspended a third CACC employee involved in the incident for three days without pay. Finally, CACC informed OIG that, in July and August 2015, it updated its policies in an effort to more accurately track animals going to and from offsite events. The supervising employee appealed the suspension on January 5, 2016.
- An OIG investigation established that a Chicago Police Officer committed perjury and obstruction of justice. The Officer wrote false official reports regarding a 2010 arrest of a man for criminal possession of heroin and then provided false sworn testimony at the resulting preliminary hearing and bench trial. The officer’s official reports and testimony were refuted by a private security video that recorded the events at issue. The arrestee, who was acquitted, later filed a federal civil rights action against the City, and the Officer, which the City settled for $99,000. OIG referred its findings to CPD which filed charges and discharged the officer. On November 19, 2015, the City of Chicago Police Board sustained the discharge. The offending Officer has filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking to reverse the discharge.
- An OIG investigation culminated in a formal notification informing the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) that at least 20 firefighters in the Lewis 111 class—see Arthur L. Lewis, Jr. et al. v. City of Chicago, No. 98-C5596 (N.D. Ill. filed Aug. 17, 2011)—had not been medically cleared by a CFD physician prior to starting their employment. This ran counter to both national standards for fire departments and the Department’s own established practice. Two of the 20 improperly cleared members suffered serious medical events and died while off-duty, not long after they began their full duties, highlighting the importance of a CFD physician medically assessing and clearing all new firefighters. OIG strongly urged that CFD consider immediate action to assure that the remaining 18 members were in fact medically fit for duty and that CFD devise and implement a formal medical clearance policy consistent with national standards. CFD has informed OIG that going forward, CFD is committed to following detailed internal operating procedures (dated June 2015) that follow National Fire Protection Association standards and require that a CFD physician “[m]ake a final medical clearance determination on applicants.”