An Illinois police officer has been decertified by the state for stealing a shirt from a mall 15 years ago, a crime she has been open about since becoming an officer.
Zenna Ramos, 38, is no longer allowed to work as a police officer anywhere in the country after the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board decertified her for a 2008 incident in which she stole a $14.99 shirt from the mall, according to FOX 32 Chicago.
“I took responsibility for my actions,” an emotional Ramos told reporters on Tuesday.
The charges against Ramos were dropped, but the incident resurfaced earlier this year when she left the Cicero Police Department to work for the Riverside Police Department. She had only been with Riverside PD for two months when the state board decertified her for the theft she committed when was 23 years old.
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The Cook County State’s Attorney told FOX 32 Ramos was placed on the “Do Not Call” list after the board notified the office of the decertification.
The board released a statement saying in part that, pursuant to the Police Training Act and amendments made by the SAFE-T Act, it has a “continuing duty to ensure all sworn law enforcement officers are free of any disqualifying criminal offenses as provided by statute.”
Ramos’ boss said her openness about her past is one of the reasons why he wanted to hire her.
“It is very difficult to talk about because it is something that she has worked so hard to get fixed,” Riverside Public Safety Director Matthew Buckley said. “But that’s the kind of person I want working here in Riverside. Because in Riverside, we give second chances. We work with people.”
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“Yes, she made a mistake in 2008,” Buckley added. “But what she has done since that date is the more important part. Over the last 15 years, Zenna has worked tirelessly to better herself. She has gone to school and studied criminal justice.”
State Rep. LaShawn Ford and the Riverside Village Board have asked state officials to reverse their decision.
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“The incident happened because of a $14.99 situation at the mall at JC Penny’s (sic), I believe, where she received a misdemeanor,” Ford said.
Ramos is no longer working as a police officer, but she was reassigned to another job within the Village of Riverside.