EDWARDSVILLE - James S. Bedell, 57, the former chief of police of Edwardsville, Illinois, was sentenced Friday in federal court to eighteen months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, an order of restitution in the amount of $136,800, and a special assessment fee of $400, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced. On April 17, 2103, Bedell pled guilty to four counts of Embezzlement and Theft from the city of Edwardsville.
“I am always saddened when a member of law enforcement is found to be engaged in illegal acts. I urge the public to remember that the vast majority of our men and women in blue are extremely honest, bright, and capable and that they put on their uniforms each day to serve the citizens, not knowing if they will come home at the end of their shift. It is for them and for all of us that I will not cease my efforts to expose and help punish police misconduct when it is found,” said United States Attorney Wigginton.
James S. Bedell was employed as the director of Police and was also referred to as the chief of Police of the City of Edwardsville from approximately 2007 through October 5, 2012. As part of the plea, Bedell admitted that from July 2009 through September 2012, while chief for the City of Edwardsville, he unlawfully removed cash and money orders from a lockbox in the police department that contained vehicle impound fees.
The city of Edwardsville charges a $300 fee for vehicles towed as a result of certain enumerated violations. The $300 administrative fee must be paid by cash or money order, and the paid administrative fee is revenue to the city that must be properly accounted for; therefore the funds received are not for the personal use of an employee of the city of Edwardsville. Bedell admitted as part of the plea that he converted some of the funds to his personal use, generally to support a gambling habit.