ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ohio - Arlington Heights suspended traffic enforcement operations less than 24 hours after the 9 News I-Team broke news that more than a quarter of a million dollars disappeared from speeding fines.
After sources told 9 News police were no longer running radar on Tuesday, the Arlington Heights police chief confirmed the village's decision to suspend its traffic enforcement operations. Chief Ken Harper said the decision was made for safety reasons after the media coverage.
There's no indication that police officers were involved with the disappearance of $262,000 discovered in a recent audit. The opposite may prove to be true -- that good cops were used as a tool for theft, writing traffic citations for legitimate violations while others pocketed some of the cash.
Two former Arlington Heights police chiefs raised questions about missing money going back a decade. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters confirmed to 9 News that "someone was stealing money," and he expects charges to be filed against two former village employees.
The mayor of Arlington Heights, Steve Surber, was informed of potential problems with where the money was going back in 2002 and 2007 by way of letters from police chiefs when he was clerk treasurer.
The village later dissolved the position of clerk treasurer and created a position that answered directly to the mayor.
9 News tracked down Mayor Surber and he insisted he had no power to call for an investigation when he was the elected clerk treasurer.
Surber eventually called for a special audit -- not in 2002 or 2007, but last year -- after the initial audit findings and after police chief Rob Lawson had also contacted BCI. The mayor's court now uses a computerized system designed to reduce fraud.
In the intervening years, Arlington Heights was forced to disband its fire department because of a budget shortfall.
Read the original I-Team investigation at http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/i-team-arlington-heights-knew-its-employees-were-pocketing-speeding-fines .
Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for the latest on this development.
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38-time Emmy winner Brendan Keefe was named Best Reporter by the Ohio Associated Press in 2011, and Best Photographer in 2012 and 2013. He serves as Anchor and Chief Investigator for 9 On Your Side.
Jason Law joined 9 On Your Side in January 2013 as a investigative reporter with the I-Team.