Skokie Police Department Equity and Inclusion

Skokie Police Department

Skokie Police Department Anti-Bias Policing
The Police Department regularly offers an opportunity for people to provide anonymous feedback and complaints regarding the police department, independent of the accreditation process, and in most years there are no complaints involving any form of bias or injustice. In the rare instance where a complaint was made, evidence brought forth upon investigation could not sustain the complaint.

Ten Shared Principles
The Skokie Police Department was among the first departments to adopt the “Ten Shared Principles” the result of a joint initiative between the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois NAACP.  The Skokie Police Department has actively supported these principles during their creation and continues that commitment today.  A few of the shared principles include: 

  • Value the life of every person, the preservation of life being the highest value
  • Recognize that all persons should be treated with dignity and respect
  • Reject discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, color, nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability or familial status

The adoption of these principles in 2018 served to strengthen the Skokie Police Department’s already strong relationship with the community, and Skokie Police Department staff continue actions to replacing mistrust with trust wherever and whenever and however possible.

For example, Skokie police officers have participated in department-wide training including:

  • The Anti-Defamation League’s “Anti-Bias for Law Enforcement Program” training
  • The Center for Public Safety and Justice’s – Procedural Justice Training.
  • Annual training on the use of force is conducted 
  • More than 40 officers are trained and certified as Crisis Intervention Team Officers.  

In addition, in 2018, the Police Department hosted the “Procedural Justice for Communities:  A dialogue to Change” where both police officers and community members participated together.

Community Engagement
The Skokie Police Department regularly engages with the community through positive programs like National Night Out, Citizen Police Academy, Cops With Kids, visits to block parties, Wednesdays on the Green, the Skokie Backlot Bash, annual Skokie Festival of Cultures and more. In 2015, the Skokie Police Department launched the Many Cultures, One Community – Keeping Skokie Safe initiative through which police officers spend time in neighborhoods and parks every summer, greeting residents and providing crime prevention information.

Community Review of the Skokie Police Department Use of Force Policy
In early 2020, Mayor George Van Dusen took the Obama Foundation’s Reimagining Policing Pledge and committed to taking four specific actions recommended by the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance that is part of the Obama Foundation. The pledge lists the following actions that are intended to examine public safety policies through an equity lens: 

  • REVIEW your police use of force policies.
  • ENGAGE your communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in your review.
  • REPORT the findings of your review to your community and seek feedback.
  • REFORM your community’s police use of force policies.

All of the Skokie Police Department’s policies and procedures are examined regularly through the professional accreditation process, which the Skokie Police Department first received in 1988. The most recent of these reviews occurred in late 2019. The rigorous reaccreditation process included an opportunity for citizen comments on the Skokie Police Department’s practices, and also examined the Department’s compliance with 67 professional standards. The external, professional accreditation team identified no deficiencies. For a number of years, the Skokie Police Department command staff has mandated that all personnel participate in training on non-discriminatory policing practices and the appropriate use of force. Skokie Police personnel participate in this training on an annual basis.

The Skokie Police Department’s Use of Force policy is reviewed annually. At Mayor Van Dusen’s request, the 2020/2021 review is being conducted by the volunteer members of the Village’s Public Safety Commission. Members of the Village’s Human Relations Commission also are participating in the review process along with representatives of 16 community groups. The review and discussion meetings began in September 2020, and will continue on the third Wednesday evening of each month at 7 p.m. The meetings are available to be watched live on the Village’s YouTube channel and cable television stations.

A draft report will be developed in the spring, with a public comment period during which the draft report will be posted on the Village website prior to the document being considered final.