Former chief’s ‘confidential’ police calls found to be to secretary’s home
ILLINOIS — A check of former Belleville Police Chief Robert Hurst’s mobile telephone records in October showed that a third of the calls he blacked out as confidential police business were made to his secretary at her home and at a salon where she worked part- time, according to the Belleville News Democrat.
After Hurst handed the city a $3,424 bill for his mobile phone last year, the Belleville News-Democrat obtained the list of calls with an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request.
The list consisted of calls from Sept. 1, 1990, to Jan. 31, 1992. Hurst blacked out 142 of 2,731 calls, claiming that those calls related to confidential sources for a drug case.
A new mayor elected in April, Roger Cook, released the unedited list of phone numbers to the newspaper for comparison.
A reporter determined that of the 142 blacked out calls, 45 were made to Hurst’s former secretary’s home and 12 to Hairport Hair Studio where she worked part-time. The secretary, Bernie McKenna, who is also Hurst’s first cousin, told the News Democrat that those calls were to discuss a personal family matter.
The mayor also used the unedited list to check on a citizen complaint that Hurst had used the phone to make harassing calls. The number was not on the list, the mayor said.
The chief of detectives is examining the list further to make sure none of the numbers are confidential. Then, the mayor will make the list available in the city clerk’s office.