CASEYVILLE, IL. (KPLR) – A long time, small town, police chief is essentially 'banned' from his own department. Chief J.D. Roth of Caseyville, Illinois, is under criminal investigation.
Roth was at the police department working Monday, when Mayor George Chance called him into his office and told him he had to go.
City leaders got a letter from the St. Clair County State`s Attorney essentially saying Roth could no longer be trusted.
Roth still has a phone at the police department and the title of chief, but as of noon Monday, he was no longer on the job.
'I took this action today to relieve J.D Roth of his duties as Chief of Police in Caseyville, until further notice,' Chance said.
Chance said he was doing so, even though Chance said it was unfair.
He said Roth had been chief for a decade and with the department for at least 15 years.
Several officers filed a misconduct complaint against him in 2010 - which included allegations that Roth ordered an officer not to charge Roth`s girlfriend with felony drunk driving; that Roth drove a pick-up seized in a drug investigation for personal use, then sold the truck to a car dealer and bought it back at a heavily discounted price.
Four officers hired an attorney, fearing for their jobs.
'You can`t work for a police chief who you think is violating the law. It just doesn`t work. So they blew the whistle. They brought some sunshine in on the attention. They were nervous and justifiably so of the retaliation they might face,' said the officers` attorney, Talmage Newton.
St. Clair County State`s Attorney, Brendan Kelly, sent a letter to the village board saying Roth was under grand jury investigation and should no longer be involved in active police cases or have access to police records.
Chance said there was no choice but to put Roth on leave, even though he considered Roth a friend.
'As far as I know JD does a good job. The people of Caseyville like JD. The only thing that I can`t understand about this is this is America. I thought we were innocent until proven guilty,' Chance said.
'With the `no confidence` that the officers have demonstrated, by the `no confidence` that has been asserted by the St. Clair County prosecutor, there`s no way he can continue being chief of police over there,' Newton said.
Roth is no longer allowed at the state`s attorney`s office.
He`s still being paid as chief.
Chance said that was required under Roth`s contract.
Roth`s hasn`t been charged with a crime but possible charges include bid rigging and misconduct, both class 3 felonies - punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Neither he nor his attorney responded to messages from FOX2 Monday.