Jennifer Martin, a friend of Fox River Grove Castle owner’s across the street neighbor, has lost her job as a Chicago Police Patrol Officer for using the state license plate data base for non-official purposes.
The July 17th vote was 6-2 by the Chicago Police Board.
Here’s the first charge of which she was found guilty:
Count I: Between approximately October 2010 and May 2011, or on one or more dates therein, Police Officer Jennifer J. Martin conducted one or more Law Enforcement Agencies DataSystem (“LEADS”) inquiries on one or more license plate numbers without an official police purpose and/or for personal purposes, and/or subsequently disseminated information acquired from one or more LEADS inquiries to Ms. Diana Durso, a non-Department member who is not legally authorized to have access to the LEADS information, thereby violating the LEADSpolicy (Illinois Administrative Code, Title 20, Section 1240.80).
The decision says,
“Officer Martin stipulated and testified to facts that establish by a preponderance of rhe evidence that between October 2010 and May 2011 she ran multiple license plates for Ms. Diana Durso, a family friend and private citizen in Fox River Grove, who was opposed to a potential zoning change regarding the Bettendorf Castle in Fox River Grove.”
The State law broken is Illinois Administrative Code, Title 20, Section 1240.80(d) states in pertinent part:
“LEADS data shall not be disseminated to any individual or organization that is not legally authorized to have access to the information.”
A footnote further explains the rules for using LEADS:
“LEADS is a statewide secure and confidential computerized telecommunications system maintained by the Illinois State Police designed to provide the Illinois criminal justice community with access to computerized justice-related information at both the state and national levels. LEADS is governed by very strict regulations due to the highly sensitive, personal and private information contained in LEADS. LEADS policies and regulations are in place to protect privacy, civil liberties and the safety of private citizens. (Tr. 100-102, 108-109).”
The decision brushes aside Martin’s defense, that “Durso, was afraid that she was being followed (or was paranoid about being followed) by ‘different people, in different vehicles … at different times…'”
The Board’s decision states,
“Multiple inquiries of several different license plates took place over a prolonged period of time, which evinces that it is more likely than not that Officer Martin ran these plates for a family friend who was involved with a dispute with a neighbor in Fox River Grove, rather than for any legitimate police purpose.”
Martin was also charged with violating Federal law, specifically, the Driver’s Protection Act of 1994 (18 USC §2722 and/or §2721).
A pertinent section of the 1994 law reads,
“It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to obtain or disclose personal information, from a motor vehicle record, for any use not permitted under section 2721(b) of this title.-“
The Board then finds, “None of the ‘permissible uses’ under §2721(b) of the Driver’s Protection Act of 1994, authorized the dissemination of the personal information Officer Martin shared with Diana Durso, a private citizen.”
There are other charges about bringing the Chicago Police Department into disrepute, not implementing police, taking action for personal gain or influence, disobeying an order, etc.
The Board found that Martin’s actions
- jeopardized the Chicago Department’s ability to utilized the LEADS network (“She cast the Department in a bad light not only with the Illinois State Police, which was made aware of an allegation that a Chicago Police Officer inappropriately conducted LEADS inquiries and demanded a CPD investigation, but also brought discredit upon the Department with the Fox River Grove Police Department.”)
- “Her conduct violated both Federal Law and State Regulations.”
Testimony was taken from fellow officers that praised Martin’s work. She had no prior disciplinary history and ” 41 complimentary awards and recognitions.”
Nevertheless, the Board stated,
“However, Officer Martin’s accomplishments as a police officer, her complimentary history, and the lack of prior disciplinary history, do not mitigate the seriousness of her misconduct. No police officer can be allowed to remain on the job when she disseminates the personal information of many citizens in violation of federal law, the Illlinois Administrative Code, and Chicago Police Department policy.
“The Board finds that the Respondent’s conduct is sufficiently serious to constitute a substantial shortcoming that renders her continuance in her office detrimental to the discipline and efficiency of the service of the Chicago Police Department, and is something that the law recognizes as good cause for her to no longer occupy her office.”
The investigation by Internal Affairs took a year and a half.
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Attorney Robert Hanlon was involved in this case on behalf of Castle owner Ralph Casten.