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Local News

Police board chairman says he will stay out of Nagra hearing

Lande says he’s known officer for 20 years

The Joliet Police Department on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Joliet, Ill.
The Joliet Police Department on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Joliet, Ill.

The chairman of the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners said he would recuse himself if Patrol Officer Brian Nagra’s termination case comes to the board.

Herb Lande made the statement at a board meeting last week during a heated discussion that went on for more than an hour over the handling of the terminations of Nagra and Officer Lionel Allen.

Both officers have been suspended with pay since Police Chief Al Rochener fired them on Jan. 11. The terminations must be approved by the fire and police board to be effective.

No hearings on the terminations have been scheduled.

If there is a hearing for Nagra, Lande said he won’t be there.

“I’ve known Nagra for 20 years.
I have a good relationship with Nagra,” Lande said during the meeting Monday. “I would recuse myself so I have no vote.”

He made the statement at the meeting during a discussion over whether the board had failed to follow a rule stating hearings are to be held 30 days after charges are brought.

Interim City Attorney Chris Regis said he has not brought charges to the board in order to assure the officers’ due process rights as their attorney prepares for the case.

Regis said the 30-day rule takes effect once he brings charges to the board.

Deputy Police Chief John Perona said he handed in the paperwork on the terminations by Jan. 14 and expected hearings at least to begin within 30 days. Perona said he understood a hearing could be continued to allow time for attorneys, but added, “It’s hard to understand if we’re following the rules as best we can when it says 30 days for a hearing.”

At the meeting, Lande repeatedly said no information about the cases has been brought to the board and he only knows about Nagra’s case from what he has read in the media.

Lande later told The Herald-News that he has not discussed the matter with Nagra.

“I have not talked to him about it,” Lande said. “I have not asked him what he’s done.”

Lande would not elaborate on how he knows Nagra, but said he also knows Nagra’s parents and believed recusing himself “is the right thing to do.”

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