Tuesday, March 06, 2007
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City officials stand up to recent allegations and attacks          Send a link to a friend

Audio of the city council meeting (wav)

You can listen to Monday night's presentations in their entirety. The audio begins with Mayor Davis' introduction to the subject matter approximately seven minutes into the meeting. Police Chief Robert Rawlins speaks, city attorney Bill Bates speaks, then the mayor speaks, ending discussion of the subject matter approximately 37 minutes into the meeting. Please excuse some small amounts of disruption in sound.

[March 06, 2007]  Cty chambers fell utterly silent when Mayor Beth Davis announced seven minutes into last night's business meeting that it was time for a rebuttal to recent "attacks" and "allegations" made by a local news media based on information supplied to them by the Logan County state's attorney.

The mayor asked Lincoln Police Chief Robert Rawlins to read his statement, then city attorney Bill Bates to read his statement, then she read her statement. The mayor and city attorney incorporated a timeline in their presentations that cleared up the allegations of not acting to examine the issue, not sharing information with the aldermen and hiding information.

Interpreted summary of statements

Rawlins defined the position of the Lincoln Police Department as being the same as other departments across the country, actively learning and changing according to the laws. He called for public trust, saying that the department has good officers who are putting in a lot of time and effort to serve the community.

The mayor's and city attorney's statements shed light on many of the allegations by revolving around the timeline of events:

5-24-06: The mayor receives memorandum from the Logan County state's attorney. The memo is a list of complaints from the states attorney's perspective about how the Lincoln Police Department handled various incidents.

5-31-06: The mayor met with the state's attorney and city attorney to discuss the matter and how to remedy the allegations.

6-6-06: Davis and Bates met with Rawlins and gave him a copy of the memorandum. They outlined plans to address the allegations.

11-28-06: The city council learned in executive session of the memorandum and the plan to hire a consultant. Aldermen Verl Prather and Kathleen Horn were absent from that meeting.

12-4-06: The council approved hiring the consultant to do a review of the police department and other city departments after that.

12-12-06: The state's attorney gave a news editor an unedited copy of the memorandum, which contained sensitive information.

2-15-06: The mayor learned of the news media having a copy of the memorandum and their intention to publish it.

Both the state's attorney and the mayor asked the editor not to publish the memorandum. The editor refused. The mayor asked the editor to block out the sensitive areas and names that might jeopardize investigations or have other negative impacts. He did not do so.

Actions taken by the mayor

The Logan County Sheriff's Department, Illinois State Police, Illinois state criminal investigations office, Illinois Sheriff's Association and numerous other law enforcement professionals were consulted for their assistance in directing a professional audit of the police department.

It was recommended to seek a consultant with the proper qualifications who could provide an unbiased review of the Lincoln Police Department.

When the funds were found to pay for an investigator, the council approved hiring Stewart Erlenbush.

[to top of second column]

Erlenbush is a retired Illinois State Police commander with extensive law enforcement experience and does such reviews professionally.

Davis said that every allegation put forth by State's Attorney Tim Huyett will be investigated in a professional manner. Erlenbush's report is to provide the current status of the Lincoln Police Department's policies and procedures and recommend any changes or improvements, Davis said.

Drug forfeiture money is being used to pay for the review, which is capped at $10,000 including travel expenses.

(See Rawlins' statement below.)

[Jan Youngquist]

Lincoln Police Chief Robert Rawlins said the following:

I have been with the Lincoln Police Department for 25 years. I will tell you that I do not know everything and do not claim to know everything, but one thing I learned a long time ago that everyone has an opinion and not all opinions are correct. Everyone sees, hears, and reads things differently and forms their own opinion of how things should be handled. Our great land allows us to form these opinions and voice them whether they are correct or not. Unfortunately incorrect opinions and rumors hurt those that the opinions and rumors are made about, sometimes through mistrust. Rumors and opinions can be the downfall of a lot of people.

The Lincoln Police Department is part of the justice system and tries to assist in helping the system to the best of the officer's ability. I hope that the community does not mistrust officers of the Lincoln Police Department, please understand that we are a part of this system and try to do our part of the process. Peace officers across the country make split second decisions and have to live with the decisions they have made whether they are correct or not. These split second decisions are then reviewed over and over by the officers and the court system. Officers across the country constantly learn from their mistakes just like everyone else learns during their life from mistakes, we are all human beings. I would be wrong in saying that every incident a peace officer handles can be handled one way, each incident is different and there is usually more than one way it can be handled, there are several different options to each incident and several different conclusion can be made.

With on going in service training for officers we try to better ourselves for the community we serve. Laws change and laws are added constantly, officers as part of their duties try to stay up with the changes.

Officers of the Lincoln Police Department try to serve this community to the best of their training and ability. The Lincoln Police Department does have good officers and they put a lot of time and effort in to do their jobs.

[Text copied from file received]

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