At the July 7 Human Services Committee meeting, aldermen reviewed the results of 10 complaints filed against police officers that arose between January and May of this year and accepted Police Chief Richard Eddington’s disposition of all but one of them. Complaints against police officers are investigated by the police department’s Office of Professional Standards (OPS), which makes a recommendation that is forwarded to the chief of police. The police chief provides the OPS statements – but without the recommendations – to a three-person volunteer civilian review board, which also makes recommendations, he said. The Human Services Committee has limited power of review. It may only refer questions back to the police department for further investigation.
Earlier this year City Council approved the creation of a larger civilian review board, which Mayor Lorraine Morton may appoint.
Five of the complaints were not prosecuted because the complainants failed to cooperate. In two cases the police officers were exonerated – that is, the incident complained of occurred, but according to findings, the action was “lawful or proper,” according to police standards. One complaint was “not sustained” because of insufficient evidence, and one was deemed “unfounded,” that is, the investigators found “no credible evidence” to support the charge. Aldermen requested additional information from Chief Eddington on one complaint that he had ruled “not sustained.”
Aldermen also heard updates on the following:
Talking Farm: A demonstration plot at Twiggs Park Community Gardens has already produced vegetables to sell at the West End and Ridgeville farmers’ markets. Debbie Hillman, chair of the farm’s land acquisition committee, said the farm group is working with the City and the Village of Skokie to be able to have the City apply for a lease on land along the canal near Howard Street for a permanent location for the farm. Ms. Hillman said, “Rising gas and food prices and health concerns show we’re going to need to grow our own food.”
Summer Beach Token Program: This year, the City approved distribution of 1,050 free beach tokens to residents who qualified for them. The bulk of them – 850 tokens – were given to social service agencies; another 200 were given to the Parks/Forestry and Recreation Department for free distribution to those who request a reduced price for beach tokens, but who meet the guidelines for free tokens, according to a memo prepared by Doug Gaynor, Director of the department.
Mason Park Program: The Mason Park Field House is operating under extended hours this summer – 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. – with several programs going strong, Mr. Dorneker told the committee members. Between 30 and 45 middle school kids come to the Mason Park field house each day, said Bob Dorneker, superintendent of the City’s Recreation Division.
Committee members postponed until at least their September meeting a discussion about the possibility of a green building ordinance for the City. For a longer version of this story, visit evanstonroundtable.com.