Our Pledge To You

Chicago

On-duty Chicago cops used as chauffeurs, babysitters for supervisor’s child: OIG

A Chicago police badge hangs in front of the City of Chicago Public Safety Headquarters on Dec. 1, 2015. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On-duty Chicago police officers were ordered for almost an entire year to pick up a supervisor’s child from school and baby-sit the child at a police station for hours at a time, according to a new report from the city’s government watchdog.

The Office of Inspector General recommended possible firing for the supervisor, but the Chicago Police Department opted instead for a seven-day suspension.

A Chicago police spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon to explain why the supervisor was only suspended.

The investigation’s findings, released Wednesday in the city watchdog’s fourth-quarter report, don’t identify the supervisor, but they detail a pattern of “improperly diverting CPD resources” for the supervisor’s own needs.

The supervisor used the department as a personal child care service starting in September 2017 until at least July 2018, according to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office.

Most Wednesday afternoons, a lower-ranking supervisor was directed to order as many as three officers to drive 3 miles each way in a police vehicle to pick up the child from a school outside their district and bring the child back to the station. At the station, they had to baby-sit the child for at least two to three hours.

At the end of the day, the supervisor used a police vehicle to drive the child to its mother’s home.

Officers told the inspector general that babysitting the child at the station took them away from police duties and brought down overall productivity in the district, the report says.

In one instance, an officer hung up the phone on a domestic-violence victim because the child needed attention, according to the report.

Another cop told the watchdog that officers would often take the child to the car wash to keep it “occupied.”

“The officers, understandably, had concerns that they would be blamed if something happened to the Supervisor’s child while the child was in their care,” the report says. “The Supervisor’s actions also placed subordinates in the difficult position of having to choose whether to disobey a directive from a superior or engage in non-police business while on-duty.”

While the inspector general’s office says the supervisor admitted to ordering officers to care for the child, the supervisor “disingenuously and implausibly” claimed it was all part of a community policing study.

There was no evidence of a secret study, the report says.

In suspending the supervisor for seven days, CPD agreed only that some department rules were broken but disputed other possible violations, according to the report.