Yes, Oak Park’s village board made the right choice, from among two, on the firm to lead a review of policing in the village. BerryDunn was chosen ultimately on its promise of deep and transparent community engagement in this process.
That, of course, is critical.
But before too much more time goes by, it will be time for a much plainer, more direct explanation of just what this $159,000 consulting contract is intending to accomplish. This feels like an unarticulated holdover from the former administration. A holdover created on the run as some sort of response to serious concerns raised locally — and nationally — in the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis 15 months back.
We’ve long advocated a frank discussion of policing and safety in Oak Park. Our view has been that Oak Park has a better-than-good police department. There has been a reluctance though to take bolder steps, to listen to more voices, to become a great department.
Can BerryDunn lead a process that takes us there? Without a permanent village manager? With a police chief eyeing a new job? Without an equity plan underway with a top administrator guiding it?
We will see.