Mary Frances O’Connor (312) 821-9026
Robert Herguth (312) 821-9030

March 10, 2014

CHICAGO—The Better Government Association is proud to announce our investigative staff has won an Illinois AP Broadcasters Association award for our work with media partner NBC 5. The winning investigation, Protect and Served?, aired Feb. 14, 2013, and was completed by the BGA’s Patrick Rehkamp and NBC 5.

Our investigation found police union contracts in Illinois routinely allow officers to come to work with alcohol in their systems. The story (which prompted a follow-up investigation on firefighters with similar union clauses) led Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to propose a change in state law. Ultimately, a state law enforcement agency recommended a standardized policy that would limit the acceptable blood-alcohol content level to 0.02 statewide for on-duty personnel.

The BGA/NBC 5 project won in the Best Series or Documentary category in the Metro TV section.

“This was an important story to do – taxpayers needed to know that their first responders were allowed to work with alcohol in their system, putting the public, and the officers themselves, in potential peril,” said BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw. “And the public needed to know that their elected and appointed officials were allowing these ridiculous rules to be included in labor agreements in the first place.”

The BGA appreciates the hard work and dedication of NBC 5’s Phil Rogers, Katy Smyser, Richard Moy, Lisa Capitanini and Debra Juarez who worked with the BGA on this year’s winning project.

The Better Government Association is a Chicago-based non-profit, non-partisan watchdog group that works for integrity, transparency and accountability in government by exposing corruption and inefficiency; identifying and advocating effective public policy; and engaging and mobilizing the electorate to achieve authentic and responsible reform.