Former New Athens Police Chief Dallas Hill is now a convicted felon. He'll never again wear the badge or carry a gun.
After he "borrowed" an iPad and iPod from the village's evidence locker, an anonymous tip led investigators to discover his personal info on the returned items. Busted.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said it well: "Bad cops insult the sacrifice and courage of good cops. Ninety-nine percent of police officers work hard and put their lives on the line for our safety every day and they do it with integrity."
We agree, but the fact that Hill was given a plea deal that didn't include at least weekends in jail or community service troubles us. He was not only entrusted to safeguard his community, he was trusted to lead those efforts. He was entrusted to carry out those duties by using deadly force if necessary.
He should have been made an example. Probation without even needing to check in with a probation officer is not enough.
The other issue is with the New Athens Village Board.
Why they entrusted their community's safety and the safety of its police officers to someone so young and inexperienced is a mystery. Someone in their mid-20's just hasn't developed the judgment to lead a police force -- as this episode underscores.
At least they tried to stop Hill's pay. Whether the mayor should have reinstated it after determining that stopping it was "illegal" remains for the lawyers and voters to sort out.