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Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006 11:32 am

Above the law

ISP summary details alleged violations by detectives, five supervisors

The yearlong investigation into alleged misconduct by two Springfield Police detectives has also ensnared five supervisors, according to an investigative summary obtained by Illinois Times.

The 30-page document, dated June 28, 2006, offers a glimpse into the rule-bending, sometimes soap-operatic culture of the now-disbanded “major-case unit” and includes summaries of ISP investigators’ interviews with the two highly decorated officers under scrutiny — SPD Detectives Paul Carpenter and Jim Graham. The report reveals that the detectives’ friendship has dissolved, with Carpenter alleging that Graham had improper relationships with two women — the relative of a murder victim and a female homicide witness — and Graham apparently showing up at Carpenter’s home to accuse his former partner of undermining his career.

The report concludes with a lengthy list of department policies allegedly violated by Carpenter and Graham, plus violations allegedly committed by five of their supervisors: Deputy Chief William Rouse, Lt. David Dodson, Lt. Rickey Davis, Lt. Doug Williamson, and now-retired Sgt. Tim Young.

Several law-enforcement sources familiar with the usual process of internal-affairs investigations say that such a list, when offered, is meant merely as a suggestion. The full report, said to be more than 2,000 pages long, is in the hands of SPD Chief Don Kliment, who may adopt all, some, or none of the ISP list. Kliment, contacted Tuesday, said neither he nor any of the officers named could comment on the report because it is a personnel matter.

Carpenter and Graham have been on paid administrative leave for almost a year, pending the outcome of the ISP investigation.

Ward 2 Ald. Frank McNeil, who last week publicly called for the two detectives to be fired, says he didn’t need the new information revealed in this report to reach his opinion.

“My feeling remains the same — that these guys should be terminated because of what’s already on the record,” McNeil says. “There is enough administrative impropriety [already known] to warrant dismissal, whether or not they get prosecuted criminally.”

All five supervisors listed for infractions are alleged to have violated SPD General Orders Rules of Conduct-02, Addendum 2, Rule 5 — a sort of catch-all requirement called “Knowledge of Rules and Orders.” All the supervisors except Rouse are additionally tagged with Rule 9 “Failure to Supervise” violations, for not managing Carpenter and Graham “in such a manner as to detect, avoid or correct errors or incidents of unsatisfactory performance or neglect of duty.”

Rouse, Dodson, and Davis are also alleged to have violated Rule 6, “Orders,” which requires superior officers to issue “clear, concise, and definite orders to his subordinates.” Davis is singled out for an alleged violation of Rule 33, “Lying and Untruthfulness,” for telling ISP investigators that the major-case unit followed certain SPD policies “to the letter,” when other major-case unit officers admitted they had not.

However, the list of violations allegedly committed by supervisors is brief compared to the inventory attributed to Carpenter and Graham. Counting incidents that happened as long ago as 1999, both detectives are alleged to have broken 10 different rules, some multiple times, amounting to about 30 infractions apiece.

Their attorney, Ron Stone, has not seen the report or the list of alleged violations, and normally does not comment on internal investigations. “Although we’re not commenting on the substance of the allegations, I’ll comment on some of our potential stances,” he says.

“We certainly intend to successfully meet the allegations. The department can write whatever they want in those general orders, but that doesn’t mean an arbitrator is going to agree with their position.”

In particular, the allegations dating back to 1999 should be thrown out, Stone says.

“Our contract requires that investigations and discipline be imposed in a timely fashion,” he says. “[This] investigation as a whole has been totally untimely and should be dismissed.”

The delay, he says, has deprived SPD of the skills of two passionate crimefighters.

“They were regarded as the go-getters of the department . . . the ones who would answer their pagers on the off-hours and put in as much effort and time as it took,” he says.

Although both the U.S. attorney’s office and the Illinois State Appellate Prosecutors office have declined to pursue criminal charges against either officer, the ISP report describes at least one alleged violation of state law: Carpenter, in 2003, helped an informant who was on probation avoid his community service requirement by providing the informant with a bogus time card and faxing it to Hunt County, Texas — the jurisdiction in which the man was on probation [see Dusty Rhodes, “Something doesn’t add up,” March 2].

The report also cites other alleged violations of Rule 4, “Conformance to Laws,” which specifies that SPD officers must abide by the Constitution as well as state laws and local ordinances. Rule 4 violations, if substantiated, can result in severe discipline, even if the officer has not been convicted of a crime.

According to the general orders, “Acquittal or dismissal in a criminal prosecution will not preclude the Department from independently investigating and seeking disciplinary action, including termination, against a member for violation of this rule and regulation.”

The potential Rule 4 violations committed by the detectives include:

A series of three 1999 arrests in which Carpenter made false statements in sworn affidavits. Another 1999 arrest in which Graham claimed to have discovered evidence of illegal drugs in the trash of a suspect who later proved his trash had not been accessible. A June 2003 incident in which both Carpenter and Graham allegedly discovered that a convicted felon whom they used as an informant was in possession of a gun and several rocks of crack cocaine. Carpenter took the firearm away from the informant, but the detectives allowed the informant to keep the crack. The informant told ISP he later sold the drugs on the street. Graham’s testimony in a November 2004 murder trail, in which he stated he had not made a report of an interview with a suspect, but then retrieved exactly such a report from his “personal folder.” Carpenter’s forgery of the probationer’s time card.

The two detectives are also alleged to have violated Rule 17, “Investigative Functions,” a total of 15 times. This rule covers everything from preserving evidence to report-writing, and though the ISP report doesn’t spell out which portion of the rule was violated, Graham and Carpenter were known for being more passionate about street work than paperwork.

For example, the allegation that Graham had an improper relationship with a homicide witness came when he and Detective Rick Dhabalt traveled out of state to interview a woman who had information about the crime. At some point, the woman accompanied the detectives to a casino. After watching Dhabalt gamble for several hours, Graham and the woman left. Around 6 a.m., Dhabalt returned to the motel room he shared with Graham and found him in bed with the woman. Dhabalt immediately left the room, telling Graham he would meet him at the car. Graham told ISP that he and the woman were both fully clothed. Graham never wrote a report about their interview with the woman.

Other alleged violations include Rule 11, “Neglect of Duty”; Rule 13, “Unsatisfactory Performance”; Rule 21, “Unbecoming Conduct and Associations”; and Rule 33.

Both detectives are also alleged to have violated Rule 3, which states, “An officer will at no time exercise police powers outside the City of Springfield except in exigent circumstances or when answering a request for assistance from another agency.” According to the ISP report, the two detectives violated this rule when they arrested Divernon resident Thomas Munoz for attempted burglary of a Rochester church [see Dusty Rhodes, “To tell the truth,” May 5, 2005] — a charge that was later dropped. Munoz has filed a federal lawsuit against the detectives, claiming false arrest.

Graham also allegedly violated this rule when he conducted four “trash rips” — rummaging through a suspect’s garbage seeking evidence of illegal drugs in order to obtain a search warrant — on residences outside the city limits. According to the ISP report, three of these trash-rips occurred after Kliment met with a major-case supervisor on June 18, 2004, and ordered the bureau to cease using trash rips. Graham, however, told ISP he was unaware of any such order.

“According to Graham, he conducted trash rips until the day he was placed on administrative leave and planned to continue the practice when he returned to work,” the ISP report states.

Other alleged violations apparently came with the approval of supervisors, according to the report. For example, SPD has a detailed policy requiring officers to register informants, also known as confidential sources. But Carpenter and Graham, who frequently cited unnamed informants in sworn affidavits to obtain search warrants, were never made to follow that policy.

Their immediate supervisor, Sgt. Tim Young, told ISP he never believed the major case unit would have to conform to the confidential-source policy and didn’t think it was “appropriate” for the major-case unit. Another major-case supervisor, now-Lt. Clay Dowis, told ISP the confidential-source policy was only for the narcotics unit, and that deputy chiefs knew it wasn’t being followed by the major-case unit.

Another order the major-case unit apparently ignored was Kliment’s directive, also given June 18, 2004, to share with SPD’s narcotics unit any information the detectives found regarding illegal drug activity. According to the ISP report, supervisors Rouse, Dodson, Davis, Williamson, and Young all “failed to take reasonable measures to ensure” the implementation of this order.

Though this allegation may seem minor compared with others contained in the report, it may have been the impetus for the entire investigation. The ISP probe began when SPD Sgt. Ron Vose, former supervisor of the narcotics unit, submitted to Kliment a 20-page memo outlining “red flags” he had found when he examined Carpenter’s and Graham’s search warrants looking for narcotics information.

Vose, who was subsequently transferred to patrol and resigned citing “fear of further retaliation,” denied that news of this report, which he has not seen, provides him with vindication.

“It makes me feel bad that the disregard for policies and procedures was that widespread within the department,” Vose says.

“You know, it all started when I simply asked that they notify the narcotics unit whenever they were doing any type of narcotics-related investigation. If their supervisors had just done that, that would’ve nipped it in the bud, and this would’ve been over a long time ago.”

Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.

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