LaSalle C0. (ECWd) -
We first reported on the lack of a paper trail regarding the investigation of an alleged solicitation of prostitution by LaSalle Officer Strand in this article. All indications pointed to a cover-up. We then followed it up with this article that continued to identify problems in this investigation of Officer Strand. Then, in an attempt to discredit our work, the News Tribune ran this article that is now very problematic for that so called news agency. We covered some of those problems in this article. Let us continue exposing the problems in LaSalle and this particular Illinois State Police District.
"That doesn’t jibe with a review of the documents La Salle police provided to Edgar County Watchdogs, and which in turn were supplied to the NewsTribune." (Collins - News Tribune)
Tom Collins' statement is 100% misleading at best. Our reporting was spot on and his claim it did not "jibe" with the review of the "documents" supplied to the News Tribune is false. I filed a FOIA for the so-called "documents" that were supplied to him and just as suspected, ONE document was provided and it was the very same one we pointed to in our original article on this cover-up. Now that we know we can't trust the reporting from Collins, let's continue to show the potential impact such failures have on a community.
"And the investigation wasn’t completed entirely in-house." (Collins -News Tribune)
No Mr. Collins, the investigation was not completed entirely in-house, nor was it even completed. Had you done your job you would have been able to report that to the good people of LaSalle County.
Collins' reporting misled the public and now we have proof that the reporter and the people of LaSalle had best wake up and demand answers. According to the most recent response from the Village of North Utica, owner of the computer in question regarding alleged pictures of Officer Strand with a female either dressed or undressed (various stages of dress), the Illinois State Police failed to even look at the computer.
How can you claim an investigation of a potential crime was completed when they never even examined the computer in question?
"Please note that no Utica Computer was examined by the ISP in this investigation." (Village FOIA response)
That takes us to the second part of Collins reporting in that article.
State police, Peru police and the state’s attorney’s office all reviewed the facts before Uranich settled on simple disciplinary action." (Collins -News Tribune)
Collins' claim is once again, false. The disciplinary action came before the end of the ISP report and now we know those so-called facts he eluded to failed to include key components of any real investigation.
- Officer Strand not questioned
- Computer not examined
- Alleged prostitute not questioned
- LaSalle PD Video interview points to conflicts with ISP report
- No follow-up of additional information provided by a Police Officer
- What kind of criminal investigation fails to question the police officer in question?
- What kind of criminal investigation fails to examine the computers that contain potential evidence?
- What kind of criminal investigation fails to question the alleged prostitute?
- What kind of criminal investigation fails see the conflicts of an interview of a woman who was in fact contacted by Officer Strand?
Below is the video of Jillian Sherman, who was interviewed by the LaSalle Police Department. Of interest in this matter is the fact the ISP confirmed the phone number of the woman matched the phone of Officer Strand. Connect that dot with her interview comments and you find some very strange coincidences that appear to point to the actual cover up.
The woman claims the officer could only meet in LaSalle because he was on duty. What are the odds of the now claimed "police impersonator" only willing to meet this woman in LaSalle? What are the odds of the now claimed "police impersonator" contacting the very same woman contacted by Officer Strand? What are the odds of the now claimed "police impersonator" spending $100 to talk to this woman? She commented that the officer told her, her tags had expired but he was not going to write it up. The ISP report makes reference to that incident but the Officer claimed she was not driving. "ChiefUranich stated Sgt. Strand said to himself he's screwed because she wasn't driving. ChiefUranich stated, Sgt. Strand informed him, he walked over to the car Sherman was in advising her she was lucky she wasn't driving." Why would she be screwed if she was driving? Expired tags have no bearing on who is driving so why has no one asked why this woman would be screwed if she was driving?
The ISP report states Officer Strand went to a Becks gas station in Peru and considering he was disciplined for going outside his district, that is consistent. What is not consistent is the video interview states it was, in fact, a gas station in LaSalle. The woman explains the phone interaction on this matter in detail and considering the woman claimed to have a friend with her, we can only wonder why that person was not questioned to confirm the story.
According to the ISP report, "Chief Uranich mentioned he spoke with LaSalle State's Attorney Brian Towne regarding the case and he too advised, why the Illinois State Police is getting involved when there's no crime."
So LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne was privy to this investigation and advised there's no crime? How could he know that without the investigation being completed?
From the ISP investigation file: "Buffo said Officer Zebron told him he would fully cooperate with us if we needed to speak with him regarding what he knows about the situation."
So a fully cooperative potential witness is identified by the ISP yet there was no record of him ever being questioned by the ISP? Better yet, reading the ISP report it appears they did nothing but write down what other police officers did in "their" investigation. What kind of investigative work fails to question numerous people named by other officers, let alone fail to question the alleged prostitute or officer in question?
LaSalle Police Officer Buffo appears to have key information but all indications point to nothing being done. Buffo contacted the ISP in April to provide additional information as well as check on the status of the investigation. It is in that report, found here, that point to serious concerns regarding the ISP.
The ISP report in this document that Officer Buffo was interviewed on March 11, 2016, by Zone 3 Investigations.
How ironic that a FOIA request for ALL investigative reports on this matter DID NOT include any report for any interview dated March 11, 2106?
Not only did we not receive any report from the claimed March 11, 2016, interview of Officer Buffo, we were not denied any other reports, which indicates the matter is closed. So what we have now is an officer of the law providing additional information that he feels is pertinent to the criminal investigation, to include details and names, and nothing is done.
As we stated in our first article, this has all appearances of a cover-up. You don't have to be a Perry Mason to see it either!
With Brian Towne chiming in before the investigation is even completed we once again raise the flag of public awareness to those in LaSalle County. It's clear there is a problem and this one case is yet another piece of evidence that the citizens can no longer trust certain people responsible for enforcing our laws and protecting the people.
We suggest you read the ISP report, watch the video below, and read the previous articles. We are confident once doing that you will see exactly what we see, a cover-up.
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