When Illinois residents hear about alleged criminal acts performed by a police officer, especially one who works in the local school system, they can quickly jump to conclusions about that person’s guilt. People’s quick judgments can drastically affect an accused person’s personal and professional life.

According to a recent news report, an Edwardsville police offer was arrested on three different counts of a felony charge.

The policeman’s alleged activities involved videotaping of females in a local tanning salon without their consent. The 46-year-old police officer now faces three counts of unauthorized video recording, which is a Class 4 felony. The accused was released on his own recognizance.

These charges come as the result of alleged recordings obtained on April 1, 3 and 4. If the authorities recover other images from the arrested man’s cell phone, there may be additional charges to add for any other victims.

Penalties for a Class 4 felony in Illinois can include between 1 and 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

An aspect of this case that draws media attention concerns the man’s employment as a D.A.R.E. officer in the local school system. The system superintendent did send a letter to parents informing them of the incident, per the media report.

A police officer charged with felony crimes is an example of a case in which it is important to get all of the facts early on and manage the relationship with the media. With considerable media coverage, as has been seen in past high profile criminal cases, it can be difficult for an accused person to receive an unbiased trial.

Source: TheTelegraph.com, “Cop accused of videotaping women at tanning salon,” Sanford J. Schmidt and Kathie Bassett, April 9, 2012