In his recent interview on the Legal Talk Network podcast,  Senator Dick Durbin’s recalled his time as a private attorney and his work defending claims against law enforcement agencies.

One of those claims was filed against former DeWitt County Sheriff Keith Long whose office was the subject of a series of investigative stories published jointly by the Chicago Daily News and The DeWitt County Observer in 1977. A county grand jury indicted Long on more than 30 counts of alleged misconduct but a special prosecutor assigned to the case failed to convince local jurors of any wrongdoing.

I was one of the Observer’s reporters who worked with the Daily News team of Rob Warden and Larry Green, both award-winning journalists. Our collaboration was featured in Time magazine.  Numerous awards followed.

In his interview, Durbin noted his work as the lawyer for an insurance company handling the claim by a former inmate against the sheriff.

The last time I saw Durbin at an event in Springfield, we talked about his connection to the “I am the law” sheriff, a reference to Long’s comment to reporters during an interview for the investigative series.

Durbin’s recent mention of his career defending law enforcement-related claims came during his conversation with podcast co-hosts Jonathan Amarillio and Chastidy Burns about the proposed Justice in Policing Act. The measure approved in the House would establish a national database for use-of-force reports involving police officers. The bill also addresses the qualified immunity provision that keeps most civil claims against officers from moving forward in the courts.

The bill has not been called for a vote in the Senate.

Here’s a link to the podcast: