Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook, like much of the country, was waiting for word to come down on the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

When it came, a Minnesota jury convicting Mr. Chauvin on all counts in the killing of George Floyd last May, “I heard it on my radio,” the Chief said on April 20.

The George Floyd killing brought “a lot of volatility,” with it, said Chief Cook, who has 40 years of law-enforcement experience.

And “when people watch somebody killed on TV or on social media, that deserves a lot of scrutiny and presents a lot of pain to people,” Chief Cook said.

As for police, the national attention is another reminder of the day in-day-out scrutiny they are under, too.

“This is a job where we have to make decisions and we need to make the right decisions,” Chief Cook said. “Every day we come here and treat people with dignity and respect. If we do that, we should be okay.”

The verdict and the public debate that swirled around it will be something to be factored in too, the Chief indicated.

“Hindsight can be a great teacher,” he said. “We all look at situations and try to learn from them, look at what we do – whether it’s a General Order or policy and make sure it’s in line with what’s expected by the public.”

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.