I’m writing to clarify a statement made last week in an editorial regarding Oak Park’s Citizen Police Oversight Committee (CPOC). [Rethinking police oversight, Our Views, Viewpoints, June 16] In the editorial, a statement was made that unintentionally leaves the reader with the wrong impression of a key element of CPOC. Specifically, it was stated, “That CPOC does not see the names of the officers who have received citizen complaints makes it impossible to note repeat complaints.”
That’s simply not correct — each officer referenced in a complaint registered with CPOC is assigned a unique identifier and the committee monitors these identifiers to see if he/she has repeat complaints. Any officer with a repeat complaint is quite easily identified and CPOC members can report that to the village board or question the police chief directly.
While officers’ identities are kept confidential to volunteer members of CPOC for a number of good reasons, those with repeat offenses are, in fact, identified and noted by the committee.
As a village board member, I sit as the board liaison to CPOC and can say the process is clear and functions well. In no instance would police officers who were the subject of repeat complaints filed by citizens go undetected. I thought it was important to clarify this point in order to avoid giving Oak Park residents incorrect and potentially misleading information regarding CPOC and how it operates.
Jim Taglia, Village trustee, Oak Park