Lopez said that Langan, who turned her back just as former Riverton police officer Grant Peterson put his hands around a DUI suspect’s neck and subsequently head-butted him on Feb. 5 in the Riverton police station, began working for Jerome police in August of last year in a part-time capacity “and in years prior.” He wasn’t more specific.
Before Langan was hired as a fulltime sergeant, Lopez said that trustees discussed the hiring during an April 2 executive session, after Peterson was charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery and video that included Langan looking the other way appeared in multiple media reports. The video has been posted several times on YouTube, starting in February, where thousands of people have viewed it.
In the prepared statement attributed to both himself and the village police chief, Lopez said that village police chief Mark Estill backed the decision to give Langan a fulltime job. Langan has not been charged with a crime. Lopez did not say whether village officials knew about the Riverton incident when they gave her a fulltime job.
“Importantly, Officer Langan has never been the subject of discipline or a complaint related to her service in the Village of Jerome,” Lopez said. “The village holds its police officers to the highest standards and will not tolerate the use of excessive force by any officer.”
One resident submitted written comments expressing concerns about the Langan hire that were read aloud by the village clerk during the meeting, which was held remotely via Zoom. No opportunity was provided for reporters or other members of the public to ask questions. No trustee asked a question after Lopez made his statement, nor did any trustee say anything about the hire during the meeting, when considerably more time was spent discussing repairs to Iles Avenue.
In his report to trustees, Estill said that some officers have qualified to carry assault rifles that can be used both in confined spaces and at a distance. He also said that graffiti has been removed from the closed Shop ‘n Save supermarket and that there has been a spate of unsuccessful car prowlings. He did not mention Langan.
Neither Lopez nor village attorney Jason Brokaw have returned calls from Illinois Times. Village trustees have either not returned calls or refused to answer questions about the decision to hire Langan.
The Jerome Police Department has a history of problems that includes a cessation of round-the-clock patrols in 2017 due to a shortage of officers.
Contact Bruce Rushton at email@example.com.