Oak Park pulls 'Guide to the Suspicious' from village website

Following request by police chief, trustees

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park Police Department's "Guide to the Suspicious" was removed from the village of Oak Park website this week following criticism that the guide encouraged members of the community to engage in racial profiling. Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds requested the guide be taken down for further review in a memo sent Aug. 11 to Village Manager Cara Pavlicek.

"In light of the local and nation conversations on police reform, we recognize the potential for this information to be misinterpreted to the detriment of some of our citizenry," Reynolds wrote in the memo.

In an email sent that same day to Reynolds and Pavlicek, Trustee Dan Moroney requested the chief reevaluate the guide and the message it sends to the community. Moroney also copied the village board members on the email.

"It seems that there is room to reduce the instances of people calling the police for erroneous reasons," Moroney's email reads.

Moroney wrote that the "Guide to the Suspicious" exemplified the mantra that "the citizens are the eyes and ears of the community" and directs the community to call the police on people they believe look or act suspiciously.

"Residents are calling the cops disproportionately on Black residents for actions that might be 100 percent within the law," Moroney told Wednesday Journal.

Reynolds' and Moroney's requests to remove the guide occurred almost simultaneously, which Pavlicek called a "coincidence" during an interview with Wednesday Journal.

The guide was taken down just a week after the village of Oak Park hosted two "police listening sessions," during which citizens shared their experiences with police.

"When it's the right thing to do, things happen very quickly," said Trustee Deno Andrews, who seconded Moroney's request in an emailed reply.

 The two listening sessions are part of a larger effort to address systemic racism in the community.

"I think as a result of the listening sessions, some of the overwhelming feedback was that people call the police in matters that just aren't police matters," said Andrews.

Following the sessions, Moroney expressed a desire to reevaluate the guide in an interview with Wednesday Journal.

Pavlicek said removing the guide was an "appropriate action to take."

"I think it's absolutely appropriate sometimes that we put a fresh set of eyes on something and say, 'Wow, this might not be the right communication anymore," Pavlicek said.

The guide's removal marks an initial response to concerns about policing in Oak Park and across the county. There will be additional meetings and reviews of department policies, said Pavlicek.

She said village staff will present its review of the Citizen Police Oversight Committee, as well as the request for proposal to conduct an audit of the police department. Members of the community activist group Freedom to Thrive Oak Park may make an appearance before the village board to answer questions about the group's policing report.

"I think the chief also needs to give an update on where he is in regards to the update to policies and procedures," said Pavlicek.

While Moroney is on board with making changes to police policies to address racism, he does not believe in defunding the Oak Park Police Department.

"I have no interest in abolishing the police; I have no interest in vilifying the police," Moroney said.

Moroney views Oak Park police officers as members of the community committed to serve.  "I will treat them with respect as partners in creating a better community."

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Reader Comments

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Bruce Kline  

Posted: August 16th, 2020 5:50 PM

Mr. Bowman. You got your history all wrong in regard to David Horowitz. William Dwyer is 100% correct. David Horowitz was an ardent "New Lefter" back in the day ... you're narrative is just factually incorrect.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 16th, 2020 5:09 PM

Jim, Horowitz was an ardent Marxist/leftist into his 40s.

Jim Bowman  

Posted: August 16th, 2020 11:01 AM

If Euclid the mathematician "saw beauty bare," Horowitz saw evil of Communism, never got over it. He's this day's Whitaker Chambers, among others of the '40s and '50s including Elizabeth Bentley. Barack O., on the other hand, never saw through his mentoring by the Chicago Communist during his Hawaiian days, Frank something.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 16th, 2020 8:07 AM

Well Doc,, snarky and sniping is a skill I'll need to learn from you.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: August 15th, 2020 10:37 PM

Gee Bill ..."outraged, aggressive and morally certain" seems to describe you to a T.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 15th, 2020 6:46 PM

So then, Mr. Stenger... by your addled thought process, Donald Trump is tainted by Marxist ideology because his uber fascist whisperer Stephen Miller's mentor, David Horowitz, was born to and raised by avowed Marxist parents in New York, and he was himself a hard left activist at U Berkeley through the 70s. He then underwent a 180 conversion and became a Reagan true believer. As a far right ideologue, Horowitz applied the same take no prisoners approach to attacking the left as he had the right- as one writer put it, "outraged, aggressive, and morally certain."

Bill Stenger  

Posted: August 15th, 2020 4:39 PM

@Ramona = well worth another read for all: Open your eyes Mr. Dwyer. It's all around you. Head of BLM quote "we are trained Marxists". Rewriting history (La Shawn Ford), taking down Columbus statue because a mob doesn't like it. Che Guevara elevated to hero status. OPRF forever seeking equal outcomes instead of equal opportunities, etc. A white 5 year old boy shot in the head while riding his bike by a black man and not a peep from mainstream media. I suggest you reread "1984' or "Animal Farm".

George Irving Thompson from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2020 7:08 AM

I haven't read the guide but people should still call the police if they see or hear something suspicious. I've actually failed to call in suspicious activity a couple of times and later discovered the activities were actual crimes. (Both times the people happened to be black). Even if there is a statistical evidence that there is a racial bias, that shouldn't change a policy that helps solve crime. Rather it should make us more aware of how we define "looking suspicious". But with the rate of crime that exist in Oak Park it is really harmful to the community if we are not encouraged to report actual suspicious activity regardless of the race of the person who is acting suspicious. Rather perhaps we should emphasize "looking suspicious" has nothing to do with a person's race. Maybe we should simply change the terminology to "acting suspicious" For instance if you see a stranger coming out of a neighbor's door in the middle of the afternoon carrying something in a box in a big hurry. I would suggest you call the police after trying to call the neighbor regardless of the person's race.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 14th, 2020 4:24 PM

The realities that drive BLM, and allow the founders to attract such a huge amount of support, ARE NOT Marxist, Ms. Lopez. Just as it is true that there were millions of Americans who voted for Trump out of frustration at a government that they believed had stopped listening to them, there are millions- tens of millions- of Americans who have rallied are around the BLM cause because, imperfect as it and every movement is, there is a strong core of truth there. Someday you should bother to look at the man who served as Trump uber fascist Steven Miller's mentor- David Horowitz. Delve into that a bit and get back to me.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: August 14th, 2020 11:35 AM

Open your eyes Mr. Dwyer. It's all around you. Head of BLM quote "we are trained Marxists". Rewriting history (La Shawn Ford), taking down Columbus statue because a mob doesn't like it. Che Guevara elevated to hero status. OPRF forever seeking equal outcomes instead of equal opportunities, etc. A white 5 year old boy shot in the head while riding his bike by a black man and not a peep from mainstream media. I suggest you reread "1984' or "Animal Farm".

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 14th, 2020 9:52 AM

Geez Louise, Ms. Lopez. Did you suffer severe childhood trauma at the hand of Marxists? You're sorta stuck on that.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: August 14th, 2020 9:37 AM

Did the guide include anyone wearing a Che Guevara T shirt?

Rob Ruffulo  

Posted: August 14th, 2020 7:16 AM

How dare we try to stop a crime and possibly save a life. Liberals want rights for everyone except the lawmakers. In this say in age, we need more suspicious calls to police. Nothing to lose.

Natalie Stein  

Posted: August 14th, 2020 6:03 AM

Jeffrey Smith Did "Guide to the Suspicious" include the left wingers and bleeding hearts who post on the threads? Seems as though anyone who has an opinion different at least from yours should be looked upon as suspicious.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: August 14th, 2020 1:47 AM

Did "Guide to the Suspicious" include the right wingers who post on these threads?

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