LYNWOOD | A seven-year Police Department veteran whose squad car was taken by a criminal suspect during a police chase has lost his job.
The village’s Police and Fire Board voted 3-0 late Monday in favor of terminating the employment of patrol Officer Joe Marigliano. The decision came following several hours of testimony, which included a detailed accounting of Marigliano’s personnel file about all the suspensions and reprimands he had received while on the job.
Police Chief Michael Mears said the Dec. 11 incident involving a suspect driving away in Marigliano’s squad car was not the sole reason for his dismissal.
Under the law, the police board now has 30 days in which it must provide a written explanation for its decision to fire Marigliano.
Once that written decision is presented to Marigliano, he has 35 days to seek an administrative review of the decision in the Cook County Circuit Court, said police board attorney Timothy Lapp.
Christopher Cooper, an attorney for Marigliano provided by the Fraternal Order of Police, said he has every intention of taking this case to the courts.
“It was clear from the beginning that the (police) board had its mind made up,” Cooper said.
He cited the testimony Monday night of current Crete Police Chief James Paoletti, who said he believes it is a miscarriage of justice for Marigliano to lose his job because of the squad car incident.
"You have to look at the totality of an incident to figure out if he was really being an ineffective cop or was he trying to do good," Paoletti said Tuesday.
Village officials have said of that incident that Marigliano got out of his squad car to chase a criminal suspect on foot, while leaving the keys in the ignition and the car door open, without triggering a lock-out switch that would have made it impossible for someone else to drive away with the vehicle.
But Cooper has said Marigliano was being a devoted police officer, both in joining in the foot chase of the suspect who had attacked a woman with a knife and by trying to help another officer who had become injured – which was supposedly what enabled the suspect to double back and get to the squad car.