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Local News

Retired Joliet police officer wants criminal case moved to veterans court

Retired Joliet police Lt. Dennis McWherter will seek to have his criminal case transferred to a veterans court, his attorney said.

Attorney Jeff Tomczak told a Kendall County judge on Thursday that he will file a motion to have the case moved to veterans court.

"We're in the process of discussing the matter with the state's attorney's office," Tomczak said after the pretrial hearing.

McWherter has a Bronze Star among his medals and served 20 years in the Army where he was a commander, Tomczak said. He was deployed to Iraq and served in the Illinois National Guard until retiring from service in 2017.

Successful completion of a veterans court program, which provides counseling and therapy, could lead to dismissal of charges.

Tomczak said McWherter helped establish the veterans court in Will County.

Kendall County does not have a veterans court. Tomczak said he will ask that McWherter's case be transferred to veterans court in Will or DuPage counties.

"We just hope that the court will allow him to have the same option as other veterans in Illinois," Tomczak said.

McWherter faces felony charges of official misconduct and possession of a controlled substance for allegedly taking an opioid from a police drop box at the Joliet Police Department West Substation in the Kendall County section of the city.

The alleged incident occurred on October 2018, less than two weeks before McWherter retired. The charges against him were filed in March 2019.

McWherter's next court appearance was scheduled for March 22.

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