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Kreiser v. Police Board

OPINION FILED JULY 13, 1976.

ANTHONY KREISER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE POLICE BOARD OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding. MR. JUSTICE JIGANTI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff Patrolman Anthony Kreiser was discharged from the Chicago Police Department (Department) after a hearing by the Chicago Police Board (Board) for violating certain rules of the Department. He filed a petition for administrative review (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 110, pars. 264-279) in the Circuit Court of Cook County. This appeal by plaintiff follows a denial of his petition. Plaintiff appeals from the circuit court's affirmance.

A police officer may be discharged for cause. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 24, par. 10-1-18.) *fn1 The Board found cause in that in five specific instances plaintiff violated Rule 2, a general rule of the Department, which prohibits:

"Any action or conduct which impedes the department's efforts to achieve its policy and goal or brings discredit upon the department."

The questions before the court are (1) whether the evidence supports the findings of the Board and, (2) if so, do they present sufficient cause to warrant a discharge.

The specific findings of the Board were:

(1) Plaintiff violated Rule 2 because on various dates in April, 1972 he failed to have his personal vehicle properly licensed under state statutes and city ordinances and drove the vehicle while unlicensed.

(2) Plaintiff violated Rule 2 by violating Rule 6 which provides that an officer must obey an oral order. The order was by Lt. Brown to submit a written report to explain certain conduct of plaintiff on April 12, 1972.

(3) Plaintiff violated Rule 2 by violating Rule 13 which provides that a false written or oral report should not be made. Plaintiff falsely stated to a superior officer that he had not driven his personal vehicle while it was unlicensed.

(4) Plaintiff again violated Rule 2 by violating Rule 13 by falsely stating to a superior officer that he was "on his lunch break" when in fact he had not made any notification or obtained permission from a superior officer for a lunch break.

(5) Plaintiff violated Rule 2 by violating Rule 29 which provides that an officer cannot leave a duty assignment without being properly relieved or without a proper authorization by leaving his duty assignment without proper authorization by not logging out for traffic court.

The testimony on the substantive issues before the Board was from Lt. Harold W. Brown for the Department and from the plaintiff on his own behalf. In addition to that there were certain stipulations and reputation witnesses.

On April 12, 1972, at roll call before the morning shift, plaintiff told Lt. Brown that he was due at traffic court that day at 1 o'clock. Lt. Brown testified that Fillmore District (not Departmental) procedure required that an officer must sign out on a log sheet maintained by the desk sergeant before leaving the station for traffic court. Although there is no definite rule or regulation on travel time, an officer who must appear in traffic court is allowed approximately 45 minutes traveling time from the 11th District to traffic court. The Fillmore District is located 1100 South and 4000 West; traffic court is at 321 North LaSalle Street. The officer should check into court about 15 minutes before the time he is due to appear. He may use public transportation or his personal vehicle.

Lt. Brown further testified that an officer is allowed 30 minutes for lunch. If he is actively assigned to a car, Departmental regulations require that he advise the Central Communications Room when he is going to lunch, but if he is in the station "* * * he should inform the Watch Commander * * *. Actually he could advise the supervisor or anyone. Being in the station, the Watch Commander being the commanding officer at the time, he should be advised of the whereabouts of his personnel."

Plaintiff testified that he informed his partner, Officer Romano, he was going to lunch and traffic court. Romano did not testify. Plaintiff did not sign out at the police station in the log book. ...


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