Recently, the Journal reported on a police incident that was videotaped by a participant and which, in a minor way, went viral. There was the implication that Oak Park officers, who had descended on a home’s front porch to question an African American man they believed resembled a suspect they were searching for, had harassed him.
At this point we are more interested in the response to the case from Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley. Prompted by an angry letter from a sibling of one of the involved officers who demanded the village seek to remove the video from the Internet among other outlandish suggestions, Tanksley wrote a candid and affirming response. He defended the response of most of his officers while taking to task the actions of a single officer in his response to the person videotaping the incident.
Tanksley reminded his officers that, while on duty, they are increasingly likely to be filmed, to have that video posted on social media and, in general, to have their efforts critiqued more strongly than ever before. That, he implied, is the moment we live in and all involved must rise to the scrutiny.
That is a healthy response from a police chief.