Editorials

Outlaw cops belong on screen, not on our streets

Illinois State Police Trooper Corey Alberson was unrepentant about his search methods, which a prosecutor likened to a proctologist with a badge. If he stays out of trouble, his record will be clear in a year.
Illinois State Police Trooper Corey Alberson was unrepentant about his search methods, which a prosecutor likened to a proctologist with a badge. If he stays out of trouble, his record will be clear in a year. tvizer@bnd.com

So many TV shows and movies are built around the renegade cop who breaks the rules to get the bad guys and save the victims that it is hard to think of a cop character who follows the rules.

Illinois State Police trooper Corey Alberson certainly must have seen himself in that role. Anything goes for the greater good, and no bureaucratic rule is going to stop him from taking the gangsters and drugs off the streets.

The video of him searching down the pants of motorist Anthony Campbell in East St. Louis was pretty strong evidence of that, but in addition we learn that he didn’t call in the stop or activate the audio on the video. He had a history of failing to call in and failing to start the audio.

He also wasn’t much for filling out the mandatory stop receipts that record the person’s race and reason for the stop. During three months in 2013, Alberson made 337 stops but only filled out 12 cards.

Alberson was caught during a supervisor’s routine review of the dash cam videos. On Tuesday he was sentenced to a year of court supervision on a misdemeanor of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors sought a felony conviction, which would have prevented Alberson from ever being a cop again. Court supervision means that the conviction disappears from his record as long as he stays out of trouble.

His job with the State Police remains in jeopardy, but his ability to take his brand of justice to another police department remains intact.

Alberson was unrepentant, saying he’d do it again the same way. He said had he found something the night he shined a light up the motorist’s kiester he’d have been awarded. “Instead, I’m arrested,” he said.

Probably true.

But it’s also true that most professionals must abide by rules made by authority. Cops who make their own rules are entertainment, not law enforcement.

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