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Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019 12:05 am

POLICE BLUES

Readers might recall recent news that the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation, the folks who built the downtown memorial park for fallen officers, had gotten ripped off from someone on the inside. Details were scant. The foundation acknowledged that the group’s treasurer has left that position and that the FBI is investigating. It’s still not clear how much money might be missing, but the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office in June took a report pegging the loss at nearly $80,000. Foundation president Ron Cooley says that’s the extent of the suspected theft and the foundation hopes to recover the money. Meanwhile, Leann Shirley, the foundation’s former treasurer and a supervisor in the state police background investigation unit, was placed on administrative leave four days after the foundation reported the theft – state police had refused to reveal her employment status, so we made a formal records request. Included in the response to the request are documents showing that Shirley came under investigation in 2014 for allegedly accessing computer files concerning an investigation into a state police employee, whom she considered a friend, and talking to Cooley, then head for the Illinois State Police Merit Board, about the case. Shirley told internal investigators it never happened, and Cooley says the same. Cooley tells IT that he never was interviewed by investigators, nor had he been aware of the 2014 investigation until a reporter called. The outcome of the investigation isn’t clear from documents cops have turned over, but another records request is pending.

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