Illinois offers free, voluntary ethics class for elected officia - KMOV.com

Illinois offers free, voluntary ethics class for elected officials to reduce corruption

Posted: Updated:
In the past four years there have been 27 convictions of elected officials. In the past four years there have been 27 convictions of elected officials.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

After continued allegations of corruption in public offices, St. Clair County scheduled a class on government ethics for elected officials.

Since 2011, there have been 27 cases of public misconduct prosecuted in St. Clair County and the Metro East is turning to the classroom in an effort to stop the corruption.

Approximately 25 Metro East officials will go through the course this fall at SWIC, which will cover topics ranging from ethical conflicts to the consequences of violations.

"Prevention is a lot better than prosecution. Prosecution is certainly appropriate where people crossed the line and they violate the law, we have to do that. We have to uphold the law," said St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

Recently, former police officer Harry Halter made headlines for tax evasion and wire fraud convictions and  was accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him so he would not arrest her. The current number of misconduct cases is reportedly four times higher than it was five years ago.

Scott Tyler, who was recently elected to the Belleville Board of Alderman, pans to take the course offered for public officials.

"Some of the neighboring communities, it's obvious they knew they were doing something wrong," said Tyler. "But there are a lot of time where you may have done something wrong and had no idea. Your intentions were good but you did something illegal."

The class, which is the first of its kind in Illinois, is both free and voluntary. State's Attorney Kelly hopes the class will serve as a model for the rest of the state and one day be mandated for all public officials.

"The public doesn't expect elected officials to be perfect and have the answers to all the problems, but they expect them to try to do the right thing," said Kelly.

The class will begin on August 27 and run through December.

Watch News 4 Now

Mouse over player for controls · LAUNCH FULL PLAYER

Powered by Frankly