Ford Heights, Illinois Police Chief Convicted for Drug Corruption
On February 12, a federal jury convicted Jack L. Davis, a 25-year police veteran, of extorting bribes from drug dealers in return for allowing them to do business while he was Ford Heights Police Chief (Matt O'Connor, "Court told that former police chief aided drug dealers in Ford Heights," Chicago Tribune, January 29, 1997, s. 2, p. 7; Michael Gillis, "Chief on trial in drug scandal," Chicago Sun-Times, January 29, 1997, s. 2, p. 9; Matt O'Connor, "Ex-Ford Heights top cop awaits verdict," Chicago Tribune, February 11, 1997, s. 2, p. 1; Matt O'Connor, "Ford Heights ex-police chief guilty of corruption," Chicago Tribune, February 12, 1997, s. 2, p. 1).
Davis, 58, was convicted on one count of racketeering, two counts of aiding and abetting drug dealers in the distribution of heroin and crack cocaine, and eight counts of attempted extortion. There was evidence that in exchange for receiving $7,480 from drug dealers in the course of several months before being arrested in July 1996, Davis warned them about police investigations and other law enforcement efforts, ran off rival drug dealers, fixed criminal cases, returned seized narcotics to one dealer, and gave advice.
The FBI obtained evidence against Davis through hidden tape recorders worn by Randolph Holmes and James Cross, two confessed crack cocaine and heroin dealers who were promised reduced prison sentences for cooperating with the FBI. In one recorded conversation with Holmes, Davis laughed about a meeting four days earlier with James Floyd, the executive director of the Cook County Housing Authority. In that meeting, Davis had promised Floyd he would crack down on Holmes specifically.
Davis is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21 and faces up to 25 years in prison. Five other current or former Ford Heights' police officers, indicted at the same time as Davis, are awaiting trial on similar charges.