Vicki Scaman, president-elect of the village of Oak Park, perfectly hit the topic of the defunding police advisory referendum in her post-election interview with the Journal.
“I don’t think a simple question of, ‘Shall we defund the police? Yes or no,’ is enough information to know what the motivation was behind why people voted the way they did,” she said.
Rather, she said, her goal is to bring the soon-to-be reconstituted village board together in conversations among themselves and with the public to discuss public safety, the role of social service agencies in public safety, and steps the police department has taken and needs to take to face down systemic racism.
This is exactly what we’ve called for over the past year. Honest discussion. Likely uncomfortable discussion. And, if done right, most certainly productive discussion about what policing and public safety should look like in Oak Park.
Of course, the police department is not the only place in Oak Park’s village government that needs an equity perspective. Village government has been determinedly behind on issues of equity across the local bodies. Time to have an invigorating discussion and make a genuine equity plan.
We’re confident that Scaman has the skills to lead on this issue, and we see a new board better formulated than the last to bring life to these foundational concerns over equity.