July 29, 2020 – The Village of Oak Park is beginning a community conversation about policing in Oak Park with two virtual community listening sessions next week.
Residents who wish to share their personal experiences with Oak Park police – both good and bad – are invited to participate in one of two online listening sessions. The first is set for 10 a.m., Wed., Aug. 5 and the second at 7 p.m., Thurs., Aug. 6.
Participants who wish to speak will need to register online and choose a specific session for their testimonial. The deadline for registering to speak is 5 p.m., Mon., Aug. 3. Information on how to register is posted at www.oak-park.us/policereview.
Testimonials gathered from participants in next week’s listening sessions will help set the parameters for future discussions of specific police policies and procedures. Information on future discussions will be posted on the Village website.
The format for both sessions next week will be the same. Residents who wish to participate are asked to sign up for only one session to ensure everyone who wishes to speak has an opportunity within one of the sessions. Additional sessions may be scheduled for later dates.
The listening sessions will be conducted via Zoom. Both sessions will be streamed live and archived for on-demand viewing at www.oak-park.us/boardtv and cablecast on VOP-TV, which is available to Comcast subscribers on channel 6 and AT&T Uverse customers on channel 99.
The sessions will be moderated by Assistant Village Attorney Rasheda Jackson, an Oak Park resident with experience working with individuals who may have had encounters with law enforcement.
In addition to her knowledge of municipal law and police disciplinary procedures, Jackson has experience in civil rights litigation, has represented low-income tenants in eviction court and helped grow a pool of volunteer attorneys who provide free legal counsel to those in need.
Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds will be actively listening to the experiences shared in the sessions, but will not be moderating or facilitating these initial listening sessions.
“Oak Park has always focused a great deal of attention on policing,” said Village Manager Cara Pavlicek. “While the Oak Park Police Department receives few formal complaints and always earns exceptionally high marks in our community surveys, we realize biases exist in every organization and perceptions are determined by personal experiences. That’s why the Village Board and I believe it is important to hear from individuals about their personal experiences with the Oak Park Police Department.”
Individuals who would rather share their experiences privately instead of via a public forum are invited to contact the Village Law Department at 708.358.5660 or email to email@example.com
More information on the Oak Park Police Department is posted at www.oak-park.us/police.