A former Elk Grove Village police officer faced disciplinary action this summer after he was caught writing fake warning tickets, but he decided on his own to step down instead, police department officials say.
An internal investigation found David Klingsporn, a 20-year veteran of the force, wrote 13 warning tickets between January and April 2016 for traffic stops that never occurred, according to Police Chief Stephen Schmidt.
An audit conducted by a police department commander who was Klingsporn’s supervisor found discrepancies between the tickets and dash camera video on the patrol officer’s squad car, Schmidt said.
“I erred on the side of caution and authorized an internal investigation,” Schmidt said. “We didn’t know what we had. It sounded serious.”
Klingsporn couldn’t be reached for comment and his attorney didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Klingsporn, who worked the overnight shift, wrote tickets that included drivers’ names, types of vehicle and license plate numbers, the chief said.
Warning tickets — which can be issued for everything from speeding to having a headlight out — don’t have citation numbers associated with them, so they’re harder to track.
But anytime an officer activates the overhead lights on a squad car, the dash camera automatically turns on.
The police commander doing a check of Klingsporn’s tickets couldn’t find video associated with the alleged stops, Schmidt said.
Investigators also contacted the people whose names were on the warning tickets to ask if they were stopped by Elk Grove police at the dates and times listed, and all said they were not, according to Schmidt.
Under state and local rules, the police chief is allowed to suspend an officer for up to five days for violation of department policy. Anything more and the chief has to file formal charges before the three-member board of fire and police commissioners.
The board would hold a public hearing, then could vote to suspend an officer for up to 30 days or dismiss the officer.
Klingsporn was with his union attorney for a formal interrogation conducted behind closed doors with Elk Grove police officials. But before the disciplinary process moved further along, Klingsporn turned in a retirement letter to the chief July 11.
In it, Klingsporn makes no mention of the ticket writing investigation but wrote that he’s looking forward to “pursuing new adventures as my second career begins.”
“I am truly grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained and the skills I’ve developed, through the training opportunities and on the job experiences provided by the department,” Klingsporn wrote.
It’s not the first time Klingsporn has faced disciplinary action at the Elk Grove Village Police Department.
In 2011, he was suspended for eight days without pay by the fire and police commission for leaving his loaded gun in a locker at the entrance to the jail area of the police station without securing it, and leaving the key in the locker, according to an agreed order between the officer and the department.
According to personnel records obtained by the Daily Herald through the Freedom of Information Act, Klingsporn served a one-day suspension in 2014 for failing to properly secure pain pills during an arrest and booking process, which allowed the arrestee to ingest some of the pills.
Klingsporn served a one-day suspension in November 2015 for failing to appear for a misdemeanor court call. He got a written reprimand in January 2016 for being late for work three times in the previous three months.
Klingsporn also received several written commendations over his career, including his responses during a homicide investigation and armed robbery.
Officials say Klingsporn, 49, remains eligible for pension benefits when he turns 50 years old.
Schmidt said the police department is doing a full internal audit examining warning tickets issued by all 60 patrol officers, but so far, there haven’t been any other discrepancies discovered.
That investigation should be complete in a couple of weeks, he said.