Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through May 21, 2019

Officer Vanessa Gauna, Park Forest Police, PFFD
A smiling Officer Vanessa Gauna pictured in February 2019. (Photo: PFPD)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- These police reports include arrests through May 21, 2019. Charges for those arrested include felony unlawful use of a weapon and driving while license was suspended.

Providing more details than readers will find in any other police beat reports, we invite readers to subscribe to get the whole story, every day.

eNews Park Forest has always published addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those who have been charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g. “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters including narcotics or gang activity are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police DepartmentInvestigations Division at (708) 748-1309.

eNews Park Forest reports this information because the public in the United States has the right to know.  When that information is withheld or under-reported, it leaves questions.  We also want to show the work that the police force does every day that is not reported.  Police in Park Forest respond to thousands of calls per year, the vast majority of which do not end up with arrests.  Whether it’s conducting a routine investigation, pulling over a drunk driver, or responding to a possible theft at a store, the work of the police officer deserves acknowledgment by the public.

Driving While License Suspended

Derrick L. Ratliff, 54, 6045 Marshall Ave., Chicago Ridge, was arrested on May 15 and issued traffic citations charging speeding and driving while license was suspended when an officer patrolling at 10:46 PM observed a red Jeep allegedly traveling westbound on 26th Street at a high rate of speed, according to police.

Mr. Ratliff was also issued a Park Forest municipal citation charging possession of cannabis.

His vehicle was towed from the scene and an administrative seizure was placed on it per village ordinance.

Felony Unlawful Use of a Weapon

Mercede D. Geter, 23, 333 Boston St., Chicago Heights, was arrested on May 17 and charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm without the requisite FOID, possession of firearm ammunition without an FOID, driving while license was suspended, no rear registration light, improper lighting (two red tail lamps), and no insurance.

An officer observed a black 2017 Jeep Patriot traveling east on North Street from North Orchard Drive at 2:33 AM that allegedly did not have an illuminated rear registration light, according to police. Furthermore, the vehicle had a white light emanating from the right tail lamp, according to police.

The officer curbed the vehicle on Beacon Boulevard slightly east of Western Avenue. After making contact with the driver and sole occupant, Mercede Geter, the officer smelled the odor of cannabis emanating from inside the vehicle, according to police. The officer requested that Mr. Geter provide his driver’s license and proof of insurance. Mr. Geter related that he did not have a driver’s license on his person and subsequently admitted to the officer that his driving privileges were currently suspended, according to police. Mr. Geter also allegedly told the officer that he had smoked cannabis earlier but currently did not possess any, according to the report.

Mr. Geter provided the officer with his name and date of birth and, after a LEADS inquiry, the officer confirmed that Mr. Geter’s driving privileges were suspended and also advised Mr. Geter that he had a warrant from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of driving while license was suspended.

The officer asked Mr. Geter to exit the vehicle and he complied. The officer advised Mr. Geter that he was under arrest and placed him in handcuffs. Another responding officer from Park Forest discovered that Mr. Geter had a handgun, a silver and black semi-automatic Taurus PT 111 Pro, in his right front jacket pocket, according to police. The handgun contained eleven live rounds of 9 mm ammunition in the magazine and one live round in the chamber, according to police.

Police conducted a search of Mr. Geter’s vehicle and recovered black brass knuckles from the center console.

Mr. Geter’s vehicle was towed from the scene and impounded per local ordinance.

At the police station, the arresting officer placed Mr. Geter in a booking room and began to inventory his property. During the inventory search, the officer removed an off-white triangular-shaped pill from Mr. Geter’s front left pants pocket. Mr. Geter allegedly said that the pill was “X”, a slang term for the controlled substance ecstasy, according to the report.

Retail Theft

Youhn E. Hannah, 34, 2801 Western Ave., Park Forest, was arrested on May 19 and charged with two counts of retail theft after police responded to a business in the 100 block of South Orchard Drive to investigate a report of retail theft.

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