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Local News

Crest Hill police officer made more than $70,000 while on leave

Crest Hill Police Officer Felipe “Phil” Flores still is not back at work after the death of his girlfriend was ruled a suicide last month.

Samantha Harer, 23, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in her Channahon apartment Feb. 13 of last year. Flores, her boyfriend at the time, was the only other person in the apartment with her.

After a 10-month investigation, the Will County Coroner’s Office ruled Harer’s death a suicide. Flores was put on paid administrative leave throughout the investigation.

He earned $79,877.84 between Feb. 1 and Jan. 1, according to Crest Hill Police Department records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

On Dec. 28, the day the coroner’s office announced its ruling on Harer’s death, Crest Hill Police Chief Ed Clark put out a news release saying Flores would return to administrative police duties now that the death investigation was completed. Clark said Flores would return to work after a fitness for duty evaluation and an internal investigation to determine if any department policies were violated.

On Tuesday, Clark said the internal investigation still was ongoing but Flores had not returned to work yet. He cited ongoing litigation, referring to a lawsuit filed by Harer’s parents against Flores, the Channahon Police Department and Crest Hill Police Department over their daughter’s death as a reason for Flores not yet returning to work. Paul Ciolino, a spokesman for Harer’s parents, said the lawsuit was dropped shortly after it was filed.

Clark said that his department’s internal investigation is taking place now as opposed to during the previous 11 months because he wanted to “let that process go without any kind of involvement with my agency or myself.” Clark repeatedly added that he wanted the internal investigation to happen “quickly and thoroughly.”

This wasn’t the first time Flores had been taken out of the line of duty. He was suspended for 30 days as a result of an incident in March 2016 in which he drove while under the influence of alcohol and violated department policies with conduct “unbecoming of a member of this department,” according to Crest Hill police documents.

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