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Click here to download a .pdf of Donald Zoufal’s resume, one of the consultants being recommended to assess the River Forest Police Department

The River Forest Police Committee voted unanimously April 21 to recommend the hiring of two former Chicago Police Department administrators to conduct a full assessment of the operations and procedures for the River Forest Police Department.

If approved by the full village board April 28, Donald Zoufal and Brad Woods will be given authority to investigate eight areas of concern in the police department. They will be granted access to all confidential police department documents and authority to interview all police department personnel.

The two men will be paid a minimum of $15,000. They have a 60-day window to complete their assigned work and report back, though both the compensation amount and timeline may change if circumstances dictate.

Both men bring solid credentials to the task of assessing police operations. Woods retired from the Chicago department last year with the rank of commander. He was responsible for the personnel department. Zoufal retired in 2006 as a deputy police superintendent. His resume includes stints running the city’s emergency response system, security at O’Hare Airport and as general counsel to the Chicago Police Department.

The two men’s resumes are posted on Wednesday Journal’s website. A listing of the goals in the resolution approved Monday night is also posted.

The hiring recommendation affirms the primary conclusion of the interim police committee report that “The problems in the Police Department are real, long in duration, and deep.” Morale was mentioned by most of the six trustees present for the committee meeting.

Police Committee Chair Steve Hoke said he was quite pleased with the three-hour meeting. Echoing comments by his colleagues, Hoke said, “I thought the meeting was exceptionally productive and that we were all working toward a common goal.”

Hoke used an interim report authored by his committee as a starting point for the free-wheeling discussion, which included not only fellow committee members Patrick O’Brien and Steve Dudek but also Nancy Dillon, Susan Conti and Russ Nummer, as well as Village Clerk Catherine Adduci.

In the interim report, Hoke said his committee “[could] only identify facts.” The next step, evaluating those facts and the issues they raise, will be done by Zoufal and Woods if the full board approves.

The report, released Feb. 19, addressed six main areas of concern, including recently settled federal lawsuits brought by three senior River Forest officers, numerous retaliation and harassment complaints filed by officers within the past year, staffing levels and their effect on the department, personnel issues, problems at the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center, and the parking citation program.

Five of the six areas will be investigated and addressed by Woods and Zoufal, with the dispatch center assessed from the perspective of how it is perceived by police officers on the street. The lawsuits and personnel issues will not be directly assessed though they are expected to be mentioned in relation to other issues.

Police Chief Nick Weiss said he was unaware of the meeting and would have attended. Told of the resolution approved by the committee, he said he was most anxious to see a resolution of the issues in the no confidence vote, saying, “That’s something the deputy chiefs and I have been asking for since last June.”

Proposed scope of work

1) Assess the existing police command and supervisory structure.

2)

Assist in conducting staffing study to determine optimal deployment of police resources.

3)

Assess need for formal protocol for retaliation or harassment complaints.

4)

Evaluate Internal Affairs policies and procedures.

5)

Assess department’s ethics rules, consider possible alterations and conducting ethics training.

6)

Assess issues underlying lack of police morale. Generally address issues raised in FOP’s No Confidence Resolution.

7)

Assess village’s strategic plan and the police department.

8)

Articulate standards for evaluating police chief’s performance.

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