ALTON — Police Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons at a press conference Friday announced the suspension of an officer involved in a videotaped macing of two handcuffed juveniles in a holding cell.
In a prepared statement, Simmons said the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. He said the chief of detectives has been ordered to expedite the investigation, and that a procedural change is under way to require more timely resolution of use-of-force incidents.
The macing incident happened Jan. 26 and was brought to Simmons’ attention March 17. He received the final reports on the incident last week.
KMOV News 4 aired the video May 12.
The police department did not release the officer’s identity.
Below is the full text of Simmons’ statement:
Good morning, and thank you for coming here today. As you all know, a video was released Tuesday night of an incident that occurred on January 26th involving an Alton police officer and two juveniles in a holding cell here at the Alton Police Department.
The incident was first brought to my attention on or about March 17th. At that time, I gave a directive to members of my senior staff to ensure any report related to this incident was properly completed and given to me so I could review it, initiate an investigation, and administer proper discipline.
I received the final reports on this incident only last week. I regret not giving those assigned this duty a deadline, or following up with them sooner so this issue could already be resolved. I am also disappointed in the staff officers who failed to submit the reports in a timely manner.
The officer involved in this incident has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation into this matter. Upon completion of the investigation, which I have ordered the Chief of Detectives to expedite, discipline will be instituted.
The current policy regarding the reporting of use of force incidents contains no deadline. This is going to change.
I, in consultation with my staff and legal counsel, have begun the process to revise all policies to ensure all issues are reviewed and resolved in a more defined, more timely manner.
Let me re-iterate – the kind of behavior found in the video will not be tolerated, and proper discipline will be administered upon completion of the Internal Affairs investigation. Such behavior is not reflective of the professional, dedicated staff of the Alton Police Department.
I am committed to ensuring the transparency and accountability of this department and remain confident that the officers of the Alton Police Department are some of the best in the Metro East Area.
Thank you for your time.