Monday, October 31, 2011

Why the MCSD squad car at Jewish Congregation?

A couple of weeks ago a reader queried me why a marked McHenry County Sheriff's Department squad car would be parked for extended periods of time (days? weeks? months?) in front of the McHenry County Jewish Congregation on Ridgefield Road, in unincorporated McHenry County. I thought that was a pretty good question. (Remember the MCSD squad car parked (stored?) in Sheriff's Dept. Merit Commission member Brian Goode's driveway?)

I filed a FOIA request and went by for a photo. The car was gone. Imagine that! (Is my computer bugged?) I replied to the reader that the car was gone, and he responded that he, too, had noticed that it was moved - for the first time in a long time.

This morning another reader told me about seeing that squad car parked there for long periods of time. The caller was leery of emailing me, having read of the possibility that MCSD might show up at my door with a search warrant.

And the response to my FOIA request? "The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office does not have any documentation related to this request."

What that means to me is that the squad car was parked there "off the books." There must have been a verbal order or direction or permission to park and leave the squad car there, and nothing was put in writing. FOIA is only good for what's in writing. Nothing in writing? Then there is no "paper trail."

Did anyone else see it? How long was it parked there? Anybody on the "inside" know about it?


Anonymous said...

Sure it was an MCSD car, and not ISP?

Gus said...

Different readers told me it was an MCSD car. That's all I know.

Gus said...

A long-standing procedure at MCSD has been to park a marked squad car in front of the Jewish Congregation in Ridgefield. This dates back to about 9-11-2001.

A squad car will be washed and polished up, then driven to the Jewish Congregation's property and parked. Someone from the Sheriff's Dept. garage would follow the driver of the squad car to Ridgefield and drive him back to the Dept. Of course, two people would have to go back to Ridgefield, when it was time to bring the car back.

The mileage for the car would have to be logged, and the fuel used would be logged.

At least one squad car was vandalized while it was parked there.

Why none of this shows up as "documentation" in response to a FOIA request can only be guessed at. I wonder who withheld the information from the FOIA officer.

I'm sure the members of the Jewish Congregation appreciated having a squad car parked in front of their building. Do you suppose they expressed their appreciation on Election Days in the past ten years?

Mike said...

Numerous departments use decoy cars as park of crime deterrence. Often parked in areas where there is a high incidence of car burglary such as malls and theaters. Sometimes theses squads are occupied by a police officer and sometimes not. I personally think use of old squads is a good idea. I know the ISP parked squads in medians and along tollways as speed deterrence, but one left on I-290 was piled under a dozen donut boxes by some jokers.

Gus said...

The idea of a decoy squad car is good, but drivers on the Illinois Tollway figured out fast that these cars were almost always unoccupied. After that, they did little good.

But parked for days (weeks?) at the Jewish Congregation building? Or in Phil Pagano's driveway?

Where else in McHenry County are squad cars parked like this? Anyone?