For the third time an East St. Louis Police chief was just convicted of public theft. He received a severe “tut-tut” from our legal system with a promise of bigger fish yet to be caught.
Former East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore was collecting pay for working security at the MetroLink, and he was collecting pay for working for the city police. One guy, two time clocks, two paychecks.
He initially faced seven felony counts of public contractor misconduct, punishable by two to five years in prison. He pleaded to misdemeanor theft by deception, got 18 months of probation during which he cannot be a cop, $540 in restitution to Metro and 20 hours of community service.
Boy, does his wrist sting.
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St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said the real value of Floore’s conviction is his agreement to cooperate with investigators. Bigger fish again on the menu? “You’ll have to wait and see.”
He said Floore has done good in his life, and the felony counts are still hanging over him if he doesn’t do what he promised to do.
But Floore is the third East St. Louis Police chief to face felonies within 12 years and the first to escape a cell. Ron Matthews stole a gun out of evidence for $1,500. Michael Baxton stole four Xbox 360 game systems out of the trunk of a car.
Maybe Floore was a good cop, but at some point he decided that he was entitled to something more. Imagine being an honest cop in that department and seeing the person who is supposed to set the example and be held to the highest standard turn out to be a crook — three times. When the big boss is setting that tone for the department, why not take a little something-something for yours truly from the drug dealer or the hooker or run a little protection racket?
The issue isn’t so much with Kelly. His track record is impressive — 36 public corruption cases since 2011 with 20 felony convictions and 9 pending. Floore actually stands out because he is one of the few misdemeanor pleas.
That’s to be commended, but symbols and examples matter.