One police officer accidentally shoots a colleague. Another officer is charged with sexual assault of a 13-year-old. Still another faces charges of driving under the influence, while driving a police van.
But these are not typical police officers. Instead, they’re among the 900 “auxiliary cops” who work on police forces across Illinois – including many Chicago suburbs. Auxiliary cops look like police, wearing nearly-identical uniforms, badges and vests. And they carry guns. But they often have little actual police training.
Some towns only use auxiliary cops part-time, to help out with parades, conventions, and big local events. But other police agencies use them to save money – to get more boots on the ground at a lower overall cost.
An NBC 5 Investigates/Better Government Association investigation has found several cases of questionable behaviour and misconduct among certified auxiliary police officers working in various Chicago suburbs. They include the case of Milton Alvarez, an auxiliary policeman in west-suburban Franklin Park whose gun was stolen from the back seat of his car, and used hours later in an execution-style murder. His was one of several incidents involving auxiliary police in Forest Park, which has the fourth-largest auxiliary force in the state.
Click here to read more, from our partners at The Better Government Association.