A part-time police officer in a small McHenry County community who was fired after less than a week on the job now faces criminal charges of official misconduct, possession of a stolen firearm and burglary, authorities said.
Ryszard T. Kopacz, 30, was released from custody after posting bail this morning and is due back in court on July 16, according to his lawyer and court documents.
Kopacz, of Wauconda, had been on the job as a part-time officer for just a few days in far northwest suburban Richmond, just south of the Wisconsin border, when he was terminated on July 6 for failing to show up for a July 5 shift, according to a Richmond Police Department press release.
Separately, the department had launched an investigation into Kopacz, and alerted state and county authorities, after receiving a complaint claiming that Kopacz, while on duty and in full uniform on July 4, had gone door-to-door in a residential neighborhood “soliciting prescription narcotics,” according to the Richmond police news release.
The press release said that Illinois State Police and the McHenry County State’s Attorney were notified about the allegations but said the criminal charges resulted from an ongoing state police investigation that was “unrelated” to the alleged July 4 incident.
Illinois State Police could not immediately be reached, and Richmond officials declined to elaborate further on the nature of the alleged criminal activity.
According to the Richmond press release, an investigation into the allege July 4 incident was launched within an hour of the department receiving the complaint.
“The investigation has determined that Kopacz acted alone and is the sole suspect,” Richmond Police Chief Ciro Cetrangolo said in the press release. “I have a zero-tolerance policy towards officer misconduct when alleged. I aggressively and thoroughly investigate any complaints of impropriety against our department. I credit the strong working relationship and bond we have built with the citizens of our community for bringing this to my attention so quickly.”
Cetrangolo said the investigation into Kopacz’s conduct is ongoing, and additional charges against him could be forthcoming.
Kopacz had worked for the Hebron Police Department for several years before being hired by the Richmond Police Department.
“A comprehensive background investigation including a full psychological evaluation is conducted with all newly hired officers,” Cetrangolo said.
Kopacz’s attorney, Steven Goldman, declined to comment on the criminal case, saying he was still investigating the matter.
Goldman said Kopacz served in the Army, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was honorably discharged.
Hebron police officials could not be reached.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun