Thursday, November 6, 2014

MIAT - who will lead?

MIAT = Major Investigations Assistance Team

Who will lead MIAT?

Undersheriff Andy Zinke has been the titular head of MIAT, a County-wide task force of specialists from a number of police agencies.

Why do I ask this question now?

There were four homicides in May-June 2011 that were in the McHenry County Sheriff's Department jurisdiction.

MIAT was not called out to assist!

I believe that MIAT's involvement would have been important, but MCSD, in all its glory, did not activate MIAT.

Perhaps with the approaching elimination of the Undersheriff position at MCSD (one plank of Sheriff-Elect Bill Prim's campaign platform), the head of one of the County's municipal police departments will assume the responsibility for activating MIAT.

Any recommendations?

CORRECTION: 8:26 PM. I have been informed that the above article mis-states Bill Prim's position on the Undersheriff position. A Prim supporter has explained to me that Bill never said he would eliminate the position of Undersheriff. At the time I wrote the article earlier today, I believed my memory to be correct, and I thought that Bill intended to halt the waste of $140,000/year on a redundant position.

Why would the Sheriff, at the top of the chain of command, need a $140,000 employee to stand between him and the commanders in charge of the various divisions of the Department. Why wouldn't the Sheriff just have those five-six commanders or "chiefs" report directly to him, so that he gets their reports and feedback directly, instead of filtered through one subordinate.

Nygren used the Undersheriff to run the Department for four years, so he could enjoy a Panama Canal cruise and abundant vacation and off-duty time away from the Department, earning him the title of Cell Phone Sheriff.

I think voters expect Bill Prim to be in the office, running the Department. So why would Bill need an Undersheriff?


Big Daddy said...

Don't the individual departments have to ask for their assistance?

Gus said...

My understanding is that they do.

My issue is that MCSD could have asked for assistance from MIAT. Then a number of officers with expertise from different departments would have participated in the investigations.

A big problem for MCSD with that approach is that those officers wouldn't have had to worry about doing anything except investigating thoroughly and writing independent reports of their findings.

Billy James said...

Zinke doesn't lead MIAT, nor has he ever! It's voted on yearly by the Chiefs of Police who are invested into it. Right now Deputy Chief Birk from McHenry City is the "Commander" of it with Sgt. Rich Solarz from Marengo being 2nd in charge.

Gus said...

If I knew how to find the Northwest Herald pre-election interviews with the two Sheriff's candidate, I now understand that that Prim's interview includes his statement that he had picked a person to be Undersheriff.

He did not name his choice, but apparently he did say who it would not be.

Big Daddy said...

Isn't MIAT for small departments that don't have the resources to investigate major crimes?

Gus said...

It would be nice if an officer or deputy in McHenry County would answer this question. Many read here but don't comment - for obvious reasons. Their fear level for their job security is understandable.

Transparency for informaton of this type is essential, but these are matters not for the eyes of the lowly public.

Will that change on December 1?

Big Daddy said...

I BELIEVE that in most counties the Sheriff handles the administrative side while Undersheriff handles the operational side with Sheriff making the final decision on important matters.

Big Daddy said...

Gus, if you look at a bigger Police Department, ah, let's say Chicago for this conversation, there is the Superintendent and then the 1st Deputy. Below him are a host of Deputy Superintendents and then the Chiefs. Running a large Department (and I include MCSO in that category) may be too much for one man to handle with all the legal issues, liabilities, personnel issues not to mention the various units wighin tge Sheriffs office like corrections, courts and the road units. At least to do it properly. Just sayin.

Gus said...

Big Daddy, based on your (3:49PM) comment, I guess we could figure out why there have been so many lawsuits and big settlements against MCSD.

After a drunken birthday party at the Red Mill in Woodstock, three sergeants got 30 days off (just one day short of the requirement that the matter go to the Merit Commission, where it would have become public record). It was documented that the guy in charge of those three lied, when he reported that nothing serious had happened in connection with the party. I guess he considered drunk driving and battery on an off-duty female deputy as "nothing serious".

This is what Bill Prim is walking into, when he takes office on Dec. 1.

Will transparency change? Will Bill reduce the discipline period for Merit Commission handling to 15 or 10 or, like Woodstock PD, 5 days, so that the Merit Commission gets involved sooner?

Will he dish out "administrative" penalties (like Nygren did), when deputies commit crimes?

Big Daddy said...

Personally, IMHO, these Merit Commissions are a joke and are useless. They don't obey the law and when violations of the law are brought to their attention they run and hide. Let me change that. I KNOW FOR A FACT that is what they do. It's not my opinion.

Gus said...

I attended several MCSD Merit Commission meetings at the McHenry County Government Administration Bldg. They appeared to be a rubber stamp for Nygren and never demonstrated any independence.

One of the problems was that Nygren never took problems to them. Nygren avoided the Merit Commission by disciplining bad apples with 30-day suspensions. For the MC to get involved, suspensions had to be "more than 30 days".

Even Greg Pyle's separation never went to the Merit Commission. Resignations are supposed to, but Nygren never put it on the agenda.

The MCSD MC IS a waste of time.