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Police and Courts

Normal Fire Department

Firefighters in Normal are investigating flames that destroyed three Unit Five School buses parked in the transportation center on Eagle road.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

One McLean County judge has been suspended without pay for judicial misconduct stemming from his actions in the wake of an extra-marital affair with another judge, who is being censured.

Judge Scott Drazewski will begin his four-month suspension May 1st. Following a Judicial Inquiry Board review, the suspension was handed down against Drazewski and Judge Rebecca Foley was censured. The two began an extra-marital affair in late 2010.

Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington police shot a bull as it trotted along Main Street. The bull escaped from a processing facility on Bunn Street and went on the move, through the parking lot of an apartment complex on Tracy Drive. There were children waiting for a school bus and other pedestrians there. When officers approached, the bull it damaged a vehicle and charged an officer. Police say no one was injured, and the meat processor picked up  the carcass.

Pot Smokers May Just Get Tickets

Mar 9, 2016
ashton / Flickr via Creative Commons

Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Instead, people caught with 10 grams or less of cannabis would pay a maximum fine of 200 dollars.

Bill Would Give Ex-cons State ID Card

Mar 7, 2016
Victor / Flickr

Illinois lawmakers are seeking to give every person leaving prison a state ID.

It took Deangelo Hampton two months to get an ID after he was released from prison.

"They talking about you can use your jail stuff to get state IDs, that’s just a lie. We went through a lot."

A Creve Coeur man is under arrest for allegedly making Methamphetamine. 32-year old Robin Collier was arrested by Pekin Police as part of an ongoing Tazewell County Meth Task Force investigation. Officers say they recovered evidence of a meth lab in Collier's residence.

Cat Torturer To Be Sentenced

Mar 3, 2016

A central Illinois man will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to torturing his girlfriend's cat. The cat died.

24-year-old Nathan Sitter of Savoy is set to be sentenced April 13. He pleaded guilty in Champaign County Court to one count of animal torture. He admitted he tried to strangle and drown the cat, named Mocha.

A man has been arrested in connection with a pipe bomb that exploded under a bridge over the Illinois River in central Illinois. Pekin Police say they arrested 26-year-old Marc A. McCulley of Pekin early Sunday after police received a tip on the department's Facebook page.

Staff

A police chase in Normal ended when the man being chased died after apparently shooting himself.

The incident began as an apparent hostage situation when Normal police were called to a residence on Normal Avenue by a woman claiming the man was holding her against her will. When he fled in a vehicle, police chased him until the gunshot rang out inside the vehicle as it stopped on Towanda Avenue near Rowe Drive in Bloomington.

Creative Commons

A federal judge is easing travel restrictions during Jesse Jackson Jr.'s supervised release so the ex-congressman can take his children to visit his imprisoned wife more often and see the children's grandparents in Chicago.  

Court documents show the judge signed the order Monday after Jackson's attorneys filed it. The motion says it's burdensome that Jackson and the children are limited to monthly visits with his wife and unable to visit Chicago family, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.  

Bloomington Council To Hear Budget Recommendations

Feb 21, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington City Manager David Hales will present a $207 million budget to the city council Monday. The plan eliminates a structural deficit, projected at $7.5 million from last year.

Shooting Victim Father Seeks Photos

Feb 16, 2016
Steven Z / Flickr via Creative Commons

The father of a 21-year-old Carbondale woman killed in a 2012 shooting has won a legal ruling to obtain photographs related to her death. The Illinois Attorney General's Office has ordered Illinois State Police to provide Larry Young with photos from its investigation of his daughter Molly's death at the home of her ex-boyfriend, a former Carbondale police dispatcher. Molly Young's case remains open after a special prosecutor couldn't determine whether a single gunshot to her head was an accident, suicide or homicide.

Bradley University Top Cop Named

Feb 16, 2016
Bradley University / Flickr via Creative Commons

Bradley University has chosen a 24-year U.S. Army veteran to be the campus' new crime prevention officer. Nathan Hayes says he's quickly adjusting to his new job. The school named Haynes to the position earlier this month as part of an effort to strengthen relationships between students at the Peoria campus and the police. Haynes says police should let people know officers are there to help, not harass. Haynes is originally from Oneida. He was in the Army before he came to Bradley in 2014 as a patrol officer.

Michael Hill / WGLT

The Police Chief of Bloomington hopes to have body cams for his officers in place this time next year. WGLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with Brendan Heffner about body cams and reasons for  a dip in the crime rate.

Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner also says the department will be testing next month for new officers. They are down ten officers, so they could hire five or six right away. He's hoping for more minority applicants to increase diversity on the department. 

flickr.com/appleswitch (Creative Commons)

In Springfield there has been remarkably little movement on a state budget. But, there has at least been rhetorical agreement on the need for change in another arena, the often difficult to deal with idea of criminal justice and prison reform.

ParentPatch / Wikimedia Commons

State Troopers and Woodford County Sheriff's investigators say they have arrested three people for drug induced homicide. The case involved a bus hitting and killing an 18-year old woman on Interstate 39 near Kappa.

Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington Police say they have uncovered evidence in a 31-year old cold case murder, though the suspect has died.

Staff / WGLT

Crime in Normal rose about 4% last year but the overall five year average is down about four percent. In this conversation with Charlie Schlenker, Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner says the trend line is not surprising and the useful part of the numbers comes on a shorter term review.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

The McLean County Coroner has identified the man struck and killed by a train early Monday morning.

City of Bloomington

Overall crime in the City of Bloomington fell by about seven percent last year. In the Town of Normal it went up about four percent. But, Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner says year to year swings are not a good sign post. Bleichner says the five year trend has Normal down about four percent. He says there are ebbs and flows from year to year.

Steve Pettaway / US Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will appear at a public event next month at the University of Illinois in Champaign. The university's College of Law says she will conduct a wide-ranging hour-long discussion with Professor Robin B. Kar. The March 7 event is free, but tickets are required. Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in 2009. She is the country's first Hispanic justice.

Ryan Johnson

The Mayor of Normal says the police department in his town has reinvigorated community policing efforts in the last year. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Chris Koos says the effort can result in better understanding of law enforcement by the general population. "Ideally in the next generation we are going to have more people looking at police as a career," Koos said.

pixabay.com

The City of Bloomington is not the only area town looking at a body camera pilot program. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Chris Koos says the town of Normal will also do one. "It wouldn't surprise me if we do it cooperatively with the city of Bloomington, so we all have the same equipment," Koos said.

vapour.co.uk

Anyone under 18 caught "vaping" could have to do community service, or pay a fine. Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but the vaporized solution users inhale does contain nicotine.

Senator Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, says she doesn't consider them safe. Morrison says she'd kept stories about young people puffing on e-cigs. "They were openly and blatantly using these product publicly because there was no reason they shouldn't," she said.

Concealed Carry Permit Demand Slows

Feb 1, 2016
Webmaster2000 / via FLKR

Numbers from Illinois State Police show the agency granted far fewer concealed carry permits statewide in 2015 than in 2014. About 55,500 permits were granted statewide during 2015, compared to about 95,500 in 2014, the first year of the program. But while those numbers are down, the number of objections to applications that were made by law enforcement more than doubled. Police snd state's attorneys raised objections to nearly 11,000 applications statewide in 2015, compared to almost 4,000 in 2014.

Normal Police Department

Police say the young woman has been located.

Illinois State University Helps Women Become Cops

Jan 28, 2016
Department of Criminal Justice Sciences / Illinois State University

There are not a lot of female cops. Only 13% of police in the US are women. A program at Illinois State University is changing that, one cop at a time. WGLT's Jim Browne has the story.

On April 1, 1908, 48-year old Lola Baldwin was sworn in as a "female detective to perform police service" for Portland, Oregon. It's believed she was the first female law enforcement officer hired by an American city or town.

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

A federal jury has convicted a former Chicago official on all counts for taking bribes to steer $100 million in red-light camera contracts to a Phoenix company. Jurors returned with a guilty verdict on all 20 counts this afternoon. They began deliberating Monday.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner says the nation's mayors are keenly interested in restoring trust in law enforcement. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Renner said the idea of community policing was a hot topic at last week's conference of U.S. Mayors, and it's important for the twin cities as well.

He says the community is becoming more diverse with a sizeable Indian population, a growing Latino sector, and a substantial African American part of the community.

Panhandlers Sue City of Chicago

Jan 25, 2016
JeremyA / Facebook via Creative Commons

A lawsuit brought by panhandlers who say they lose up to $10 a day because authorities bar them from a popular public square in Chicago is set to go to trial. The in Chicago federal court is a rare instance of jurors being asked to decide the issue of panhandlers' rights. The panhandlers say authorities violate their constitutional rights. The defendants include the Cook County Sheriff's Department, whose deputies help with Daley Plaza security. It argues the prohibition at the site outside an Illinois courthouse is justified, including on safety grounds.

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