Community Task Force on Policing

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The City of Elgin is seeking community members to serve on a new community task force on policing.

With the assistance of facilitators, the community task force on policing will review the policies, procedures and practices the Elgin Police Department (EPD) employs to determine how EPD can most effectively and equitably deliver law enforcement services to all members of the community. The City intends to undertake a process that openly and objectively examines the means and methods the EPD employs to support and sustain a safe and inclusive community and explores how those means and methods are perceived by the community. The task force’s ultimate objective is to make recommendations for viable solutions to enhance the EPD’s service to and relationship with Elgin’s residents, visitors, businesses, and institutions.

Important Dates
Call for applications: June 10, 2021
Application deadline: July 9, 2021
Task Force begins September
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BACKGROUND

The city council approved the creation of a community task force on policing in June 2020. Councilmembers Tish Powell and Toby Shaw, liaisons to the yet-to-be-created task force, worked with the City Manager Rick Kozal and Police Chief Ana Lalley to identify a facilitator that will assist in creating and managing the task force. Kearns & West, a facilitation and strategic communications firm, was selected to facilitate task force meetings, in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago.  

CRITERIA AND ELIGIBILITY

Anyone who lives in Elgin is eligible to serve on this task force. The City is seeking a broad and diverse cross-section of perspectives on the issues facing the Elgin community from the task force. According to the 2010 census, Elgin has a population of 108,188. Demographics are 43 percent white; 43 percent Hispanic; seven percent Black; and, five percent Asian. The City intends for task force members to reflect the community’s diversity, in terms of race and ethnicity, socioeconomic levels, professional background and geography.  

Applicants should provide examples of community/civic involvement, as well as experience and past performance on efforts of similar size, scope, and complexity. It would also be helpful to know how an applicant has provided balanced and unbiased approaches in diverse and complex environments and circumstances. 

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If you have any questions about the application, please email policingtaskforce@cityofelgin.org.

EXPECTATIONS OF COMMITMENT

It is anticipated that task force members will need to attend a 1-2 hour meeting every other week for the first phase of the task force’s work. That frequency of meetings may become less or more frequent over the course of the task force’s time of service. It is also anticipated that task force members will be asked to review information in between meetings to prepare most effectively for their deliberations.

Task force members will be expected to attend scheduled meetings consistently except in cases of emergency or when the task force member provides advance notice of a conflicting obligation.

Meetings may be conducted in-person, virtually or in a hybrid format where participation can occur either in-person or virtually. The task force will determine the best ways for the meetings to occur after its first meeting, and the public will be able to watch the meetings either in-person or virtually, live or on demand.

SCOPE OF WORK

Third party, neutral facilitators retained by the City will help the Task Force do the following: 

1. Assess the effectiveness of the methods EPD employs to engage with the community, including identifying opportunities for improving police culture, ensuring accountability and restoring community trust, particularly within communities of color. The assessment will include a peer city comparison, data/statistical analyses, the participation of peer city police agency representatives, community input, and recommendations for training and process improvement. The assessment will also examine how the police department is being used in the community, identifying which services being provided are working well and which services may be better accomplished by other agencies or civilians. Interview members of the community, elected officials, City administrators and EPD members to determine the need for, structure of, and best practices model for a formal civilian review of police matters. The facilitators and Task Force may also elect to conduct field observations of police operations.

2. Review the adequacy of existing processes for citizen reporting and filing of complaints, including an evaluation of community desires for alternative and redundant processes not maintained by EPD for filing complaints.

3. Review EPD’s progress in achieving best practices and innovative approaches, including but not limited to practices contained within the “Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing” and consistency of EPD’s Use of Force policies with best practices.

4. Review EPD’s personnel management practices, including hiring, promotion, and provide recommendations on how those processes support recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce.

5. Evaluate current EPD training practices, with emphasis on the applicability of these practices to the interaction with the diverse members of the community and the human rights values of Elgin, and make recommendations for changes to the training curricula, methods of delivery, and frequency of training. 

6. Review police data to determine, insofar as possible, if disparities exist in interactions with discernable subsets of the community (including race, ethnicity, gender (including the LGBT population), mental health, alcohol and/or substance abuse, and age/educational status). Determine whether there are procedural, practical or other barriers serving to suppress or discourage the reporting of complaints.

7. Assess the adequacy of the current staffing status and equipment requirements and making recommendations based upon best practices and peer city models.

8. Review demographics and comparison of incident data from “peer” cities to understand how Elgin compares and possibly identify causes, influencing factors, or communities that may offer learning opportunities.

9. Review mechanisms the Elgin Police Department uses to ensure officer accountability and to build trust with the community, and make recommendations for improvement where needed.

10. Create a proposed plan for implementing Task Force recommendations along with mechanisms for the recurring assessment of performance and review and integration of best practices. The facilitators in conjunction with the Task Force, will identify the tasks required and associated level of effort, proposed costs, schedule for completion, and the deliverables to be provided.