Sunday, March 21, 2010

cooke county cop collapse

FoxNews | A sheriff's department in suburban Chicago has been shocked to find a roomful of evidence left behind by a village police department that shut down two years ago -- including a moldy sexual assault kit that authorities said linked a man to the 2006 rape of a 13-year-old girl, nearly 200 guns and hundreds of bags of narcotics, officials said Friday.

In all, seven rape kits had been left rotting in an unplugged refrigerator in the former Ford Heights Police Department, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said. The guns had not been registered with the state as having been seized by police, and Dart's spokesman Steve Patterson said none of the DNA evidence found matches anyone in the state's database.

"You're not talking about ineptness, neglect, you're talking about outrageous conduct of a police department that didn't care about the residents out there," Dart said.

His deputies have been patrolling Ford Heights for the past few years after financial problems forced the village to lay off most of its 16 police officers. The sheriff's department took over completely in 2008, after two years of sharing duties with what was left of the police department, because the last few Ford Heights officers simply stopped showing up for work, Dart said.

"They just vanished," he said. Cook County deputies didn't use the police department's headquarters, because the former chief, Earl Bridges, continued working in some capacity regarding code enforcement. But Dart said he became uncomfortable with Bridges remaining in the building after it became clear the sheriff's department would be handling law enforcement in Ford Heights for the foreseeable future. Fist tap Dale.