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1,000 cops may face discipline for viewing sex case reports

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

More than 1,000 Chicago police officers could face discipline for viewing the arrest reports of two fellow cops accused of sexually assaulting a North Side woman.

Police department officials said Saturday they are investigating why so many officers accessed the arrest reports, and said the officers could face disciplinary action. The police union, however, says the officers did nothing wrong.

Last month, two Town Hall district officers were stripped of their police powers amid allegations they had sex with an intoxicated woman in her home and in a police SUV while on-duty. A third officer was also stripped of his powers soon after the alleged March 30th incident.

According to a memo sent department-wide Wednesday by the Internal Affairs unit, accessing the electronic report constituted “misuse of department equipment.” The memo warned that “access of information for personal or other reasons is strictly prohibited.”

The memo said officers had accessed and printed the reports “without reason or authorization to do so.” It recommended that those officers receive a written reprimand that would stay on their personnel record for a year.

On Saturday, police spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane confirmed “the Internal Affairs Division is looking into the matter, including who accessed the reports and for what purpose.”

Biggane said it was unclear how many officers were involved. Police sources said it was more than 1,000.

But Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden said there was nothing wrong with looking at reports unless the reports were printed and distributed to the media.

“Police officers use those computers on a daily basis, looking at various arrest reports,” he said. “It’s just a basic part of the job and it’s not misuse of department equipment.” Camden said the department could have blocked access to the reports, but didn’t.

Camden said he’s never seen such a threat of “blanket disciplinary action.

“On this magnitude, this is a first,” he said.

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