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Campton Hills police chief probe includes missing guns in evidence room, records show

Probe of Campton Hills police Chief Steven Millar appears to involve questions about missing guns and access to the police department's evidence room, records show.

August 11, 2023

An ongoing Illinois State Police probe of Campton Hills police Chief Steven Millar appears to involve questions about missing guns and access to the police department's evidence room, records show.

The records — obtained by the Chicago Tribune through a Freedom of Information Act request — offer a glimpse into an investigation that has thus far been largely shielded from the nearly 11,000 residents of the quiet, semirural village in Kane County.

A state police spokesperson declined to discuss the investigation, which remains open and active. Village officials, meanwhile, have publicly said only that it is "related to Millar's role as police chief and financial in nature."

But in a July 6 letter placing Millar on paid administrative leave, Village President Barbara Wojnicki wrote that state police searched Millar's office and the police department evidence room on May 25.

Nearly a month later, the letter states, two state police investigators questioned Millar "for several hours."

Millar has not been charged with any crime in Kane County, State's Attorney Jamie Mosser said. Mosser said she notified the Illinois State Police after she was contacted by someone in the county about Millar.

"I turned it over to ISP, so there were no questions that this was independently investigated," Mosser said.

Millar's attorney, Matt McQuaid, previously said Millar was cooperating with investigators and "expects to be fully cleared of any wrongdoing."

"Chief Millar is surprised and deeply disappointed with these unsubstantiated and politically motivated attempts to assassinate his character and impugn his integrity," McQuaid said in an email last month. "In over 30 years as a law enforcement officer, Chief Millar has only selflessly served his community and protected its citizens."

The day of the state police search, Village Administrator Denise Burchard sent a text message to state police investigator Dave Juergensen asking what she should tell board members about the search.

"Advise them there is an active investigation at the police department," Juergensen replied. "You do not know specifics other than it has to do with evidence. Tell them isp is handling."

A few days later, Juergensen texted Burchard to say he was told a village trustee "was upset that no search warrant was used." The trustee, he continued, thought highly of Millar.

"Yes, it will be a shock to everyone," Burchard replied. "He's (sic) is loved by the community."

Juergensen responded: "The investigation is not complete. Time will tell."

The two continued to exchange text messages and emails throughout June and into July.

On June 5, at Juergensen's request, Burchard sent him a link to the section of village code that deals with the disposal of surplus property — the village president can dispose of property valued at $500 or less; the entire board needs to approve higher-valued property disposals.

Around the same time, Juergensen also exchanged emails with Campton police Officer Scott Coryell.

In the initial email, Coryell told the investigator he was not sure who was responsible for stringing a "wire/cable" through the property room during renovation work at village hall, where the police department is housed. He also didn't know whether workers were supervised at the time. There are no video recordings of the property room, he added.

"The information I am providing doesn't tell you much other than it was not I that opened/unsecured the locked room," he wrote to Juergensen. "It was not I that supervised the electrician employee. It was not I that permitted this work to occur within a secure area."

Juergensen also asked Coryell about the software the department uses to record firearms in its custody. That software, he's told, does not allow for "tracking or chain of custody."

"It seems there are many firearms not accounted for," Juergensen asked.

"Im not aware of anything missing," Coryell replied. "I have found two anomolies (sic)."

One "anomaly" involved "two guns taken for safekeeping" from a divorced couple in July 2008. The software showed one gun was returned three months later, Coryell wrote, though it does not identify the gun or the person to whom it was returned. The other gun was not in the property room during an October 2018 inventory, which, Coryell speculated, could be that it was "returned years ago and not documented."

Another gun, listed in the system as having been destroyed, was later found in the property room, Coryell wrote. It was apparently moved to the department armory for use in training or for officers who didn't have a gun.

Wojnicki told the Tribune that interim Chief James Levand recently considered bringing in someone to do an audit of the evidence room, though, she said, no final decision has been made.

Wojnicki, who unseated former Village President Michael Tyrrell in April, said she has not heard any public outcry following news of the state police probe.

"I believe our community and our residents think that they're in good hands and we'll handle it the right way," she said.

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Campton Hills police chief probe includes missing guns in evidence room, records show

An ongoing Illinois State Police probe of Campton Hills police Chief Steven Millar appears to involve questions about missing guns and access to the police department’s evidence room, records show. The records — obtained by the Chicago Tribune through a Freedom of Information Act request — offer a glimpse into an investigation that has thus far been largely shielded from the nearly 11,000 ...
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