Caseyville mayor fires police chief again

News-DemocratFebruary 28, 2014 

— Is he the Caseyville police chief or not?

On Feb. 12, Mayor Leonard Black fired Chief Jose Alvarez, but the Village Board voted unanimously to reinstate Alvarez.

Two of the board members, Brenda Williams and Rick Casey Jr., said they voted to reinstate Alvarez on Feb. 19 because Black did not follow protocol. And at that same meeting, Alvarez flew into a rant. And on Friday, Black said that episode prompted him to once again fire Alvarez.

Alvarez could not be reached for comment Friday.

In September, Black chose Alvarez to lead the Caseyville Police Department, following a lot of controversy with the administration that was headed up by former Police Chief J.D. Roth.

Black said he had made the decision to go in a different direction when he fired Alvarez the first time.

This time, Black released a statement that said, "I have no other recourse but to once again terminate the appointment of Jose M. Alvarez III for the well-being and, even more so, the safety of all our citizens."

"I personally and professionally will not tolerate this type of behavior against our police officers, trustees or the citizens of our community," Black said, referring to Alvarez' outburst that was captured on camera and later viewed online by thousands.

Black said if the Village Board decides to reinstate Alvarez again, he would be disappointed and fearful for the safety of village residents.

"I have done all I am humanly and politically capable of doing to protect and serve the citizens of Caseyville with regards to this situation," Black said in his statement.

The mayor can fire the chief but the Village Board has to approve the termination

Black apologized to everyone who was either at the Feb. 19 meeting and witnessed Alvarez's behavior or who saw the video online.

Alvarez was called and requested to attend a 4 p.m. meeting Friday and he didn't show up, Black said.

The night that Alvarez was reinstated, cameras captured him yelling at the mayor and others during a Village Board meeting. Black filed a disorderly conduct complaint against Alvarez with the Illinois State Police. Caseyville Sgt. Frank Moore filed a battery complaint.

Moore said village officials tried to recover two police vehicles and other department issued equipment from Alvarez on Friday but they could not locate Alvarez.

Black said he is not trained in law enforcement and he hired Alvarez as his chief of police after he received recommendations from three respected members of law enforcement, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, Circuit Judge Robert Haida and Sheriff Rick Watson, but he said he is certain that they would not have recommended him if they knew he "would be capable of such unprofessional and disrespectful conduct."

Haida, Kelly and Watson could not be reached for comment Friday.

Casey declined to comment on Friday.

Black said he had made several attempts to work with Alvarez to bring the police department up to a professional level, but "Alvarez has refused and failed to cooperate with the people of Caseyville, the police officers and my office -- all of which are necessary for the safety of the police officers and the residents."

Alvarez replaced Roth, who took his own life June 13 at his home in Fairview Heights after being suspended and was facing criminal charges in relation to misappropriation of village property.

Before taking the Caseyville job, Alvarez was deputy chief of investigations with the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office.

According to Alvarez's contract, he was paid an annual salary of $70,000 as police chief.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service