Teen cop impersonator drove squad car, worked full shift

Districts to undergo re-training
March 4, 2009 11:43:14 AM PST
A teenager impersonating a Chicago police officer played a minor role in an arrest on January 24, according to Police Superintendent Jody Weis.On Tuesday, Supt. Weis called on the U.S. Secret Service for a review of the security breach, which he called "outrageous, angering, disturbing and unforgettable."

"In my mind it's almost incomprehensible it could have happened. Unfortunately it did. It's very disturbing, and that's why we want to send a message that this can't happen again," said Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

Weis said an internal investigation shows seven Chicago police officers broke department rules during the incident. All districts will be re-trained, according to Weis.

The 14-year-old boy- a former police cadet and apparent aspiring police officer- entered the back door at the Grand Crossing District Station on the city's South Side on January 24. He was dressed in regulation clothing and police say it's not clear where he got the uniform. He had no gun or CPD star, but was issued a radio and was sent out with a traffic officer. He worked an entire 5 1/2 hour shift.

"During that time the subject drove the squad car for approximately two hours, interacted with the public while responding to at least five assignments, operated the portable data terminal and participated in the detention of a suspect," said Supt. Weis.

The impersonator played a minor role in the arrest of a violation of order of protection, Weis said. The boy briefly held the suspect's arm behind his back.

After the shift, the teenager and the relatively new female officer he was riding with returned to the station, where a supervisor, unidentified, realized the teen was not an officer and had him arrested.

How is it so many others missed the fact the teen was not a cop- and unable to legally drive?

"I don't know. They weren't paying attention- perhaps- maybe they were lax. That's why we did the investigation. Those answers we have to hold tight until we go through the adjudication stage," said Supt. Weis.

For that reason, Weis said, the names of the 7 officers facing discipline, and the nature of the recommended sanctions cannot now be disclosed.

"Based on contract agreements we can't identify the officers and in these situation if we gave out the ranks it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to realize who they actually were," said Supt. Weis.

The boy's name has not been released. He pleaded not guilty in juvenile court.

He is no longer in custody, but is wearing an electronic monitoring device.


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