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Schaumburg to begin review of Police Department

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 11:09 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — Rocked by the arrests of three officers charged with conspiring to steal from drug dealers, Schaumburg has hired a firm co-founded by a former Chicago police superintendent to perform an in-depth review of its Police Department, the village announced Tuesday.

The firm, co-founded by former Superintendent Terry Hillard, will examine departmental integrity, staffing, training, internal oversight and management, among other areas, according to a news release from the village. The firm, Hillard Heintze, and a panel of retired police chiefs and other law enforcement experts are expected to deliver their findings within 90 days, officials said.

The review, which will cost about $148,000, comes in the wake of last month's arrest of Officers John Cichy, Terrance O'Brien and Matthew Hudak, all of whom have resigned. Prosecutors accuse them of stealing cash and drugs from drug dealers and arranging to sell the drugs they seized.

Prosecutors have decided to drop 15 criminal cases linked to the officers' work, the Cook County state's attorney's office has said.

Complicating the issue further for the village, a man once arrested by Schaumburg police filed a lawsuit last week in federal court alleging that the charges against him were bogus and that lax departmental oversight allowed the officers' alleged corruption.

A second man made similar allegations in a federal suit filed Monday. That plaintiff claims he was in a car with a man he now knows to be Hudak when the officer pulled a gun on him and pistol-whipped him before O'Brien and Cichy arrived to help arrest him. The officers had no probable cause, the lawsuit claims.

Attorneys for the officers either could not be reached or declined to comment. Assistant Village Attorney Rita Elsner said Tuesday that Schaumburg officials were looking over one suit and had not yet received the other.

Village Manager Ken Fritz said he has confidence in the police, but events have called on the village to assess whether the department can be improved.

"This has been a very unfortunate episode, especially for the scores of police officers who serve our community faithfully and honestly every day," Fritz said in the news release. "To move forward, we need to challenge ourselves to learn from this incident."

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