July 15, 2014

Former Washington Park cop guilty of taking drugs to inmate

A former Washington Park police officer on Monday pleaded guilty to bringing drugs into the St. Clair County Jail for an inmate.

Douglass Young, 61, of 514 Monica Drive, Lebanon, had no prior criminal record and was sentenced to probation, fines and drug treatment for the official misconduct conviction. He was also ordered to turn in his gun and badge to the Washington Park Police Department.

Young was charged June 28, 2013, with official misconduct after taking narcotics and prescription pills into the jail for an unnamed female prisoner.

St. Clair County Sheriff Richard "Rick" Watson said that his assistant jail superintendent, Thomas L. Trice, "had learned that Young used his position as a law enforcement officer to arrange visits at the jail to see an inmate, who was being held at that time at the jail on theft charges."

"During these unsupervised visits, Young would give the inmate the prescription pills and other illegal narcotics according to witnesses," Watson said.

Young's visit on June 4 triggered the investigation into his conduct.

Watson said the St. Clair County Sheriff's Drug Tactical Unit, with assistance from the patrol and canine units, arrested Young. Watson forwarded the warrant information to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, which certifies and decertifies police officers. Watson is chairman of that board.

Watson said "no matter what their position is, they should not bring anything into the jail, including drugs. That's why the officers eat in the jail. We do not allow them to bring food into the jail."

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly's office has prosecuted numeral cases involving law enforcement officials and city leaders.

Mohammed Musleh was convicted of bribing an East Side Health District inspector, in January and was sentenced to fines and probation.

Former Alorton Fire Chief Carlos Darough, who had an extensive criminal history, was convicted of official misconduct for delivering marijuana with a village vehicle and in March was sentenced to three years in state prison.

Former Fairview Heights employee Patricia Ostendorf pleaded guilty to official misconduct in March for theft of government property and was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Kelly said there was a major increase in public integrity cases prosecuted during the past three years. He renewed his call for state lawmakers to fund the return of the Ilinois State Police Public Integrity Unit.

"Leadership on both sides of the aisle agree more manpower is necessary. Hopefully in the fall we will see some movement on funding for additional troopers when progress is made on the overall budget," Kelly said.

In the meantime, prosecutors have relied on federal agents and the sheriff's department to investigate.

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