October 04, 2022
Local News

Joliet police: No record of O'Dekirk suspensions in personnel file

Records of Mayor Bob O'Dekirk's suspensions during his time as a Joliet police officer are not in police department personnel file, an official said.

"We looked for them, but they're not there," Deputy Police Chief Darrell Gavin said Tuesday.

Gavin said the department has not been able to find records normally kept in personnel files that would document disciplinary actions against O'Dekirk, including reason for suspensions or whether they were ultimately enforced.

Police have provided personnel orders documenting that O'Dekirk faced seven suspensions totalling 49 days after a Freedom of Information Act for those orders was submitted by The Herald-News.

O'Dekirk's police background has come under review after a scuffle with two protesters at the scene of a May 31 demonstration that broke into a riot that led to looting at 10 stores around Joliet and the arrest of 30 people

There have been calls for the mayor's resignation after video of the scuffle appeared, and some involved in that effort have been probing into O'Dekirk's police background.

O'Dekirk at a press conference on the matter on Tuesday called a Herald-News article about the personnel orders "reprehensible."

"You got bad information," O'Dekirk said about the story. "I don't know what you were given, but it was not accurate."

O'Dekirk said before the story ran that he was not suspended close to 49 days.

The Herald-News last week also put in FOIA requests for O'Dekirk's personnel file to clarify the reasons for the suspensions and whether they all were enforced in full.

The information provided by the police department only included the 18 commendations and awards O'Dekirk received during his police career.

"What we gave you is what we have," Gavin said.

The Herald-News also put in a FOIA request to the city human resources department for O'Dekirk's personnel file. That request was still being processed as of Tuesday night.

Gavin and an official in the human resources department said the personnel filed kept by each department do not always contain the same documents. Gavin, however, said records of suspension and discipline normally are in police department personnel files.

O'Dekirk has acknowledged being suspended while being a police officer but has emphasized it was never for use of excessive force. He said he has been suspended for missing court dates ad once for writing on a desk.

According to the personnel orders, O'Dekirk faced a 30-day suspension in 1998 and a 10-day suspension in 2002. Other suspensions were two for three days and three for one day.

He left the police department in 2003 while pursuing his current career as a lawyer.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News