June 8, 2020 – Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb announced today that he has joined with his peers from across the nation and taken the Obama Foundation Pledge as part of a national effort to address police violence and systemic racism by evaluating local police use-of-force policies.
By taking the pledge of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance at obama.org/mayor-pledge, Mayor Abu-Taleb has committed to the following steps:
- Review police use-of-force policies.
- Engage the community by including a diverse range of input, experiences and stories in the review.
- Report the findings of the review to the community and seek feedback.
- Reform Oak Park’s police use-of-force policies.
“A public review of our use-of-force policies is needed. The policies guide the authority we give our officers and it is time for a full discussion to understand what the policies are today and what changes are necessary,” Mayor Abu-Taleb said.
“Oak Park has always had a Police Department that values human dignity and human life. But I also know that by examining how we train our officers and giving them the tools and training to respond properly, I believe much can be done to improve the outcome of any future volatile situations.”
Mayor Abu-Taleb has asked Village Manager Cara Pavlicek to outline a process for the Village to undertake the steps identified in the pledge. A recommendation on a process is expected in the coming week.
According to Pavlicek, an internal review of all Oak Park Police operational procedures and policies had been underway since LaDon Reynolds was named chief last year, but the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and widespread protests that followed have added a new sense of urgency to the effort.
“Since I joined the Oak Park Police Department in 1994 as a patrol officer, the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect has been part of the leadership culture here,” Reynolds said. “But we need to make sure our rules and procedures provide sufficient guidance for officers in situations that reflect today’s circumstances.”
Reynolds added, “Working with the Mayor, Village Board, Village Manager and the citizens of Oak Park, I am confident we can make our Police Department a leader in progressive law enforcement. I look forward to the challenge and the opportunity before us.”
Getting elected officials across the country to adopt reforms that combat police violence and systemic racism within law enforcement can help redefine public safety to better recognize the humanity and dignity of every person, according to the Obama Foundation’s website.
More information on the Oak Park Police Department is posted at www.oak-park.us/police.