Lake Forest Hires Independent Counsel To Investigate Officer's Alleged Inappropriate Remarks

Will deliver report to City Council in January.


At Monday night’s City Council meeting, approved the hiring of an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of possible police misconduct.

The action follows the recent release of a Gurnee Police Department report involving an alleged inappropriate conversation held between Student Resource Officer Jeff Sulkin and a intern in 2008.

Attorney Leigh Jeter, with the Rosemont law firm of Clark Baird Smith, LLP, which specializes in labor and employment law, is expected to deliver the findings of her study to the Lake Forest City Council in January 2012.

Lake Forest City Attorney Victor Filippini called it "an important step in the process to report and make a determination of whether charges will be filed. No further action is needed by the council until the report is filed."

According to a statement read by Lake Forest Mayor James Cowhey into the city council record Monday night, Jeter, who is not a resident of Lake Forest or Lake Bluff, has "substantial experience in the areas of harassment and workplace misconduct," serving both public and private clients in establishing the best practices to avoid such misconduct.

She previously served as special assistant to the Provost and director of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Office at Northwestern University.

Jeter's findings will form the basis for any charges that may be brought before the city's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, which Cowhey chairs, according to his statement.

City Manager Bob Kiely reiterated that the City of Lake Forest and Police Department take any suggestion of employee misconduct seriously, stating, "the City has established extremely high standards for its employees that place heavy emphasis on our core values of integrity, respect, trust and excellence. Deviance from these values is not taken lightly."

The action comes after the Lake Forest Police Department's receipt on Nov. 16 of a full copy of the Gurnee Police Department's report regarding a 2009 complaint filed against for telephone harassment.

The report revealed questionable conduct by Sulkin, that further investigation was warranted, though no wrongdoing was determined after an earlier investigation by the Lake County State's Attorney of Steinert.

No charges have yet been filed, nor did the intern report anything about the incident to the Lake Forest Police Department. Sulkin was reassigned to other duties shortly after the report was obtained Nov. 16, and School District 67 suspended the SRO program at .

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