NEW ATHENS — Following a three-week investigation by the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, who say they were tipped off by anonymous callers, the police chief of the New Athens Police Department was charged Monday with three felonies including theft and official misconduct.
Capt. Steve Johnson, head of the sheriff's department investigation unit, said Dallas W. Hill, 27, was arrested on two counts of misconduct and one of theft over $500. He surrendered at the sheriff's department about an hour after learning of the warrant and was released on $20,000 bail, Johnson said.
Hill could not be reached.
In criminal complaints filed by State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, Hill is alleged to have removed an Apple iPod and an Apple iPad from the small department's evidence locker and used them for himself. Kelly's office issued a warrant three days after receiving the completed investigation.
"No other officer on the New Athens Police Department is accused of any wrongdoing," said Johnson, who said the probe of Hill continues.
The electronic entertainment devices were evidence seized by the New Athens police in connection with a burglary and forgery investigation, Johnson said. He said Hill was linked by "forensic analysis" to having used the devices for personal reasons.
The charges, all Class 3 felonies, are punishable by imprisonment for 3-5 years and a fine.
New Athens Mayor Gary Kearns could not be reached. It is not clear who is currently in charge of the New Athens police. An officer who answered the phone at the department, said he didn't know who was in charge.
Johnson, who with Deputy Gerald Brown of the sheriff's department, interviewed Hill at the New Athens department on Oct. 29, said Illinois Supreme Court rules prevented him from discussing what was said in the interview.
These are the first allegations of wrongdoing he has heard of in connection with Hill, Johnson said.
In May, former Alorton Police Chief Michael Baxton was sentenced to a year in federal prison of taking five Xbox 360 games that had been seized as evidence.
According to a federal prison locator, Baxton is being held at minimum security prison in Yankton, S.D.
"Whenever the badge is tarnished, which represents our oath of honor," said Johnson, "it is very troubling for all of law enforcement."
Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org and 239-2625