Off-duty cop, already stripped of powers, arrested with gun at driver’s license office, prosecutors say

An off-duty Chicago police officer who was relieved of her powers in September pending the outcome of an internal investigation was illegally carrying a firearm when cops arrested her for causing a disturbance at a Northwest Side driver’s license office Thursday, prosecutors said.

Secretary of State workers asked the cop, 41-year-old Valerie Sylvestre to leave after she allegedly caused a disturbance inside the facility at 5401 North Elston around 2 p.m.

Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Beth Duffy said Sylvestre was asked to leave because she would not stop using her phone to record videos and pictures inside the office.

CPD officers who arrested Sylvestre for trespassing found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun inside her coat pocket, Duffy said. Footage of Sylvestre’s alleged antics were recorded by the license facility’s surveillance cameras.

Sylvestre, whose attorney said she’s been a cop for five years, was ordered not to carry a gun or any other weapon when she was relieved of her police powers last year, according to Duffy.

Chicago police turned Sylvestre over to Illinois Secretary of State police officers for investigation.

The form Chicago police officers receive upon being stripped of powers tells them that they are prohibited from carrying a firearm or other weapons. | CPD

Prosecutors charged her with unlawful use of a weapon and trespassing.

“You’re going down a bad path right now,” Judge Arthur Willis told Sylvestre after hearing the state’s allegations. “I gave you a [recognizance bond] because you are a Chicago police officer and because I think you may need help.”

Valerie Sylvestre | ISSP

He ordered Sylvestre to surrender any other weapons and her Firearm Owner’s ID card within 48 hours.

In a statement, the Chicago Police Department said it “is aware of the arrest of a CPD member and is currently conducting an internal investigation.”

The department did not reply to multiple requests for information about why Sylvestre was stripped of her powers last year. City records show Sylvestre’s salary last year was $84,054.

This story was updated on February 17, 2021, upon receipt of Sylvestre’s mug shot.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com