The subject of one of the most popular posts on here is in the news again. Back in April you may recall that the McHenry City Police Department had an officer get charged with misconduct stemming from that officer’s purported theft from the department evidence lockup. I was a bit cranky about the press release put out by the chief of that department:
The fact is that I feel bad for the whole situation. The life Hojnacki knew is over- whether or not he’s guilty. If he stole money or didn’t steal money, that’s sad. The intensity of a criminal arrest for a cop is off-the-meter when compared to a non-cop. It’s possible to be empathetic without condoning what somebody has done or is accused of doing. It seems they don’t teach that in Police Chief school.
Well, it’s not a “purported” crime anymore. According to the NW Herald Mr. Hojnacki has entered admissions to a couple of the charges, with sentencing to follow. What does the Chief have to say about that? Lots, I guess. He’s not going to tell us yet, though:
“I want to speak, but there’s a gag order and I’m respecting that gag order,” he said.
I feel so sad for the Chief. I’m sad that he has things he wants to say and he can’t. That must be frustrating.
I’m also sad that he’s Chief of a department that seemingly had no real control over the integrity of its evidence. I’m sad that it seems anybody could walk into his evidence vault and take whatever they wanted (“Hojnacki was not assigned to the evidence vault and was not an evidence custodian, McHenry Police Chief John Jones has said.”). I’m sad that, in a moment of weakness, any officer in that department could have compromised the evidence and possibly effected a lot of criminal cases. It saddens me to think that the blame in that office doesn’t seem to run all the way to the top.
Like I said in the original post, Hojnacki has made a mistake and it has cost him far more than it would a non-police officer. What has allowing this to happen cost Jones?
Maybe if he hadn’t been bound by the gag order, Jones was going to come out and tell us how he messed up. How all of this was allowed to happen. How he’s completely changed the way they keep their evidence. How anybody who wants to get into that evidence vault has to go through him, or somebody he trusts. How he bought a mirror and he looked in that mirror and realized the guy in that mirror is no better than anybody else.