Archive

Sobering allegation — Documents show Joliet mayor made false claim about police officer

Police chief memo shows mayor made false accusation

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk accused a police sergeant of being “drunk as a skunk” while on duty at Fiesta en la Calle, leading the sergeant to take blood and urine tests that showed no drugs or alcohol in his system, according to a memo penned by Police Chief Al Roechner and obtained by The Herald-News.

In his memo to interim City Manager Steve Jones, Roechner said he was standing with the mayor in front of the Fiesta stage Sept. 14 when O’Dekirk told him “you have to do something about (Sgt. Lindsey) Heavener, he is telling people I am going to jail and so is Joe Clement.”

Clement is a police officer assigned to the mayor’s office.

The memo went on to relate O’Dekirk saying, “He said me and Devito have land and are going to make money off a water deal and the Feds are coming,” then adding, “I’m tired of this (expletive).”

Roechner said he checked on Heavener, learned he had been drinking soda from a red plastic cup and determined he had not consumed alcohol.

Later, Roechner said, while dining with his family at MyGrain Brewing Company, Councilman Don “Duck” Dickinson called and said “the mayor told him that Sgt. Heavener has been drinking all night and he is drunk,” but that Dickinson himself “did not see any signs of intoxication.”

Soon after, Heavener called the chief, Roechner’s memo said, offered to “do a breathalyzer test right now,” and told him “the mayor is a liar.”

Shortly after that, O’Dekirk texted both Roechner and Jones, saying, “Hey Al, I was right. Heavener was drunk as a skunk in uniform. I assume he was driving a city squad? You fired Lionel Allen for this you need to take action,” according to the memo.

Allen, also a police officer, was recommended for termination in January. His case dragged on and he collected his salary for eight months before he was allowed to retire.

Roechner then drove back to the Fiesta, picked up Heavener and another sergeant, and headed over to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, the memo said. There, Heavener submitted to blood and urine tests, which showed his system was clear of drugs and alcohol, the memo said.

Roechner then launched an internal investigation and asked O’Dekirk to give him the names of “the citizens and fellow officers” who made “multiple complaints” about Heavener, but the mayor never provided those names, the memo said.

During the ensuing internal affairs investigation, Clement, who is also a member of the Joliet Park District Board, stated he saw Heavener “with two tequila drinks in a red cup. He was drunk and slurring his words. I feel so bad. I had to tell the truth. I am not going to lie, and I almost puked today,” Roechner’s memo said.

Clement failed to return a call for comment on why he believed Heavener was drunk. O’Dekirk, Roechner, Dickinson and Jones also failed to return calls for comment.

Heavener said he has retained the services of Lisle attorney Terry Ekl and referred questions to him.

“He did talk to me and I am going to represent him,” Ekl said of Heavener. “It is under investigation by our office and we’re going to make a decision about what to do in the near future.

The board of the union representing Heavener released a statement on the matter, saying its membership has been apprised of the situation.

“The FOPSA Board’s reason for releasing these union documents to its members is to protect them from further harassment and political retaliatory attacks from the mayor,” the statement said. “The mayor’s actions are unprofessional, unethical, and will not be tolerated.”