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  • Writer's pictureTricia Babischkin

Special Access to the Police -- For Some

After the board meeting, Phil wanted to tell me why some of the points outlined in resident data presentation were wrong. In the process he tried to prove that it was ridiculous that he would have to call non-emergency instead of simply calling or texting our police chief. So he outlined a few scenarios that he felt proved his point:

  • "There's a streaker at the golf course, I should call non-emergency and not just text the chief to come check it out?"

  • "Wait, I'll make it more ridiculous. There's a streaker and you see a police officer passing by, you wouldn't flag down the cop and instead you call non-emergency?"

  • "Wait, here's where it gets even more ridiculous. Your house is being broken into and a police car is passing by, you flag them down and you get told you that you have to call it in before they will react."

  • "Finally, someone calls Village Hall about something, Jeannine shouldn't just holler over to the chief but instead should call non-emergency who will then call the chief."

I realize that you, dear reader, see the issue. But I ended up having to tell Phil, "I'm the daughter of a fire chief, I believe in public safety and in our public safety officers. If the police chief says you need to call non-emergency; then I think you should. You will not convince me otherwise."

As I thought about this argument more and more, I had one other thought that has merit. It's actually one of privilege. I don't have the chief's cell phone number, do you? So, no matter the out there scenario presented I have a few options to get police help; I call 9-1-1 for true emergencies (like my house being broken into); I call non-emergency (like when I see something that needs to be addressed but isn't an emergency); or as a last resort, I might be able to flag down one of the officers, but there's no way for me to know that's he/she is on patrol vs. heading to a dispatched call.

At the end of all of this, it is simple, if a resident sees something that requires the attention of the police, they should call either 9-1-1 OR non-emergency, as appropriate. Phil, and the rest of the board and the CAO, are not above this. They do not possess any special powers that would make them more capable of sending the police officers out on calls at their whim; beyond having a cell phone number and the duty roster of the officers. Can we recognize that part of the issue is Phil's argument regarding dispatch is because he can't even see that his very argument is one of his overusing his 'power' as President of the Board when he should be acting as a Village Resident in these matters.

While I'm thinking about all things police -- I've been wondering why we don't have a police chief report in the board meeting any more. In fact, none of our department heads make reports during the board meetings -- but they used to. In fact, since I have listened to THREE years of board meetings, it seems really odd that suddenly we stopped getting police reports in a public forum. I've also noticed that the CAO has also stopped giving public reports on the village. It continues to feel like these are moves to remove transparency from the village residents to the state of Village Hall. One must wonder, if everything is fine -- why would we not want to regularly hear from our department heads and CAO.

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