Weather Updates

Allegations of abuse against Chicago Police commander

A Chicago Police commander who was found not guilty last year of misdemeanor telephone harassment is now the focus of an abuse investigation.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services confirmed Saturday that the agency is looking into allegations of child abuse involving Harrison District Cmdr. Penelope Trahanas and her teenage daughter.

“DCFS is investigating allegations of abuse in this case,” said DCFS spokesman Jimmie Whitelow. He said the agency had “no prior contacts” with the family.

The Independent Police Review Authority — an outside agency that investigates officer misconduct — has an “open investigation” in connection with Trahanas, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times. The source didn’t have information about the specifics of the investigation.

Last March, Trahanas was charged with harassing Officer Matthew Jackson, a former boyfriend who sought her arrest, claiming that she left voice mails suggesting she could ruin his career and saying she wished he were dead.

At the time, Trahanas’ attorney, Thomas Needham, said the allegations were overblown and that Jackson went too far by getting an order of protection against Trahanas. “Regardless of whatever intemperate, unfortunate things she said in her voice mails to him, there is no need for an order of protection,” Needham said last March.

Trahanas, who was appointed commander of the Harrison District in 2009, was cleared of the misdemeanor charge in June.

Chicago Police spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane said Saturday that Trahanas, “has requested to relinquish her command assignment and return to her rank of captain. She remains in a full duty status.”

Trahanas could not be reached for comment Saturday evening.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.