Controversy ‘blowing up’ phone

August 8, 2018

KANKAKEE — Ald. Chris Curtis, R-6, said Tuesday he has been getting a lot of calls about the controversy surrounding the Kankakee police chief ’s use of a state criminal database to investigate the mayor’s critics.

Curtis brought up the issue at the monthly meeting of the council’s Public Safety Committee.

“My phone has been blowing up the last three or four days,” Curtis said. “I don’t know how to respond. I haven’t gotten this many calls in six months.”

Ald. Carl Brown, D-7, suggested Curtis speak with Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong, who has not commented publicly on the situation.

Police Chief Price Dumas wasn’t at the meeting; Deputy Chief Willie Hunt attended in his place.

Last month, the Daily Journal reported Dumas used the state’s criminal database known as LEADS to investigate Jim Menz and Jake Collins, both of whom have criticized the mayor on social media. Police are barred from using the database for personal purposes.

In a short interview last month, Dumas said he searched Menz’s background in September because Menz posted a photo on Facebook of the mayor’s city vehicle at the City Hall parking lot. Menz had criticized the mayor’s decision to upgrade her city car.

A moment after looking into Menz, the chief investigated Collins on the system. Dumas said he didn’t remember why he searched Collins.

ATVs on streets

Also at the Public Safety Committee meeting, Hunt was asked about the mayor’s recent statement in a Facebook town hall that city police would not chase those who illegally drive ATVs on city streets.

Hunt said it was a public safety issue when police chase an ATV in the city, which he said could turn into a disaster. He said officers would pursue ATV drivers who are suspected of felonies. He said officers were seeing fewer violations of the on-road ATV prohibition.

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