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25 years after superintendent’s resignation, how is CPD enforcing Rule 47?

CHICAGO — Twenty-five years ago this month, the chief of the Chicago Police Department resigned after admitting he violated the department’s little-known and rarely cited mandate: Rule 47.

Rule 47, codified by the Chicago Police Board in 1973, prohibits CPD officers from “associating or fraternizing with any person known to have been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor, whether state or federal, except for traffic violations and municipal decrees”.

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Matt Rodriguez to head CPD in 1992. Rodriguez joined the department in 1959 and was the first — and to date, only — Hispanic superintendent in the department’s history. Rodriguez announced his resignation from the CPD in November 1997 after it was revealed that a longtime friend of his, a North Side businessman with close ties to the Chicago Outfit, had pleaded guilty to mail fraud and income tax evasion in the mid 1980s. .

In the quarter-century since Rodriguez left the department, Chicago police officers dealing with misconduct have cited Rule 47 relatively few times. A WGN Investigates analysis of Chicago Police Department records found that while dozens of CPD officers have been investigated for suspected Rule 47 violations over the past 25 years, the discipline meted out to officers found guilty of having ties to convicted felons can vary widely.

At least 46 Chicago police officers have come under scrutiny for alleged Rule 47 violations since 2006, according to police records.

Of those 46 officers, investigators “upheld” allegations of misconduct against 11 of them. Those cases resulted in one officer being fired, five suspended and another reprimanded, according to police reports. CPD did not take any disciplinary action against the other four officers.

The CPD categorizes misconduct complaints into 18 different groups, ranging from excessive use of force to bribery to traffic violations. The alleged violations of Rule 47 are grouped with other “indecent behavior” complaints. Since 2012, “indecent conduct” charges have accounted for more than 7% of the 33,000 misconduct charges filed against CPD officers, according to police department data.

The most recent permanent Rule 47 violation was issued earlier this year. The case involved a CPD lieutenant who investigators determined was in years-long correspondence with two dozen female inmates held at facilities across the country. That investigation began in March 2020, and the lieutenant’s correspondence with inmates continued for another nine months, according to the filing.

That Lt. Samuel Darry of Harrison County on the West Side was suspended for 45 days earlier this year, according to CPD. WGN Investigates has sent a request to CPD for all records related to the internal investigation of Dari’s department. CPD denied the request as “unduly burdensome” because the investigative file contained more than 1,400 pages of records.

Darry declined to comment on his disciplinary case on Monday.

In March 2009, former supr. Jodi Weiss tried to fire a patrol officer who was involved in a years-long romantic relationship and correspondence with a woman who is incarcerated in Illinois. Weiss also accused Officer Dante Walker of improperly using CPD computers and databases to access information about the woman.

Chicago police officials agreed with Weiss and ordered Walker fired from the department the following November. Walker, who was hired by CPD in 1993, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court to overturn the board’s decision. The judge ended up siding with Walker, and instead of being fired, he was suspended from CPD for four years. A police department spokesman said Walker is currently assigned to the Wentworth area on the South Side.

Shortly after 8:00 pm on July 14, 2011, a team of CPD officers were to search a home approximately half a mile north of Midway Airport on the southwest side. As they were about to enter, a woman stood in the doorway, blocking the entrance with officers.

“You don’t have a f— warrant,” she said. “You can’t come into my house.”

The woman was soon identified as off-duty CPD Officer Victoria Gutierrez, and during a search of the home, police found drugs. Gutierrez lived there with the father of her child, a man who was convicted of attempted murder and aggravated battery in the mid-90s, according to Cook County court records.

After a search of the home in July 2011, the man was charged with being an armed habitual offender, felon in possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance, records show. Three years later, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, and a judge sentenced him to two years of probation.

In April 2015, CPD Supt. Harry McCarthy prosecuted Gutierrez, accusing her of violating five different department rules, including Rule 47. A year later, the Chicago Police Board—then chaired by Laura Lightfoot—voted to fire Gutierrez from the CPD. Gutierrez appealed the decision in Cook County Circuit Court, but a judge ultimately sided with the police board and upheld Gutierrez’s firing.

“Officer Gutierrez’s involvement in the raid on her home was particularly serious. Officer Gutierrez made several very poor decisions that demonstrate she is unfit to continue serving as a police officer,” the police board wrote in a May 2016 decision. “She chose not to cooperate with the officers who executed the search warrant, to follow state statute and department policy on how to keep her weapons safe, and to continue to associate with a known felon. Taken together, these decisions constitute a serious misconduct and show gross recklessness on the part of Officer Gutierrez that are incompatible with her continued service as a police officer with the Chicago Police Department and warrant her termination.”


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