Forest Preserves Police Affirms Commitment to Ten Shared Principles

Today, Cook County Board and Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle signed a Board Resolution that endorses the Police Department of the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s commitment to the Ten Shared Principles. Created by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) and the Illinois NAACP to bridge a gap between law enforcement and communities of color, the Ten Shared Principles provide a basis for improving relations between police officers and the residents they serve.

President Preckwinkle was joined by Commissioner Scott Britton, Commissioner Donna Miller, Forest Preserves of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall, ILACP President Elect and Hazel Crest Chief of Police Mitchell Davis, President of the NAACP Illinois State Conference Teresa Haley, Chair of the Illinois NAACP Criminal Justice Committee Robert Moore, President of the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP Karl Brinson, and President of the NAACP Chicago Southside Rose Joshua.

“Criminal justice reform has been the cornerstone of my administration,” said President Preckwinkle. “Today’s signing of the Ten Shared Principles is an important statement of the Forest Preserves’ values and I commend our officers who have committed to incorporating these fundamental beliefs into their work.”

"The affirmations that the Forest Preserves are making by signing the Ten Shared Principles is a continued step in building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve," said Commissioner Britton. "To effect real change, we also must have open, honest and sometimes challenging conversations about lived experiences so we can find opportunities for growth and evolution. I thank President Preckwinkle for her support, the Illinois NAACP and IACP for their partnership, General Superintendent Randall and the Forest Preserves for their ongoing commitment to equity, and the Chicago Westside and Chicago Southside branches of the NAACP for collaborating where the tractor meets the trail."

The Forest Preserves Police Department performs a dual role: both the conventional duties of sworn police officers and tasks and duties performed by conservation officers. They are state certified and enforce state, county and Forest Preserves laws and ordinances across the nearly 70,000 acres of the Forest Preserves. They also receive specialized conservation training from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for responsibilities such as stopping poaching, and serve as ambassadors to the public, including hundreds of annual patrols on the trails and in the preserves.

“Our police are a critical resource for the Forest Preserves, and we continue to look for ways to improve their operations, most recently by starting a model police department action plan to maintain and strengthen police/community relations, create an inclusive and equitable work culture, and support a diverse police force. The bedrock values of the Ten Shared Principles will help guide this work, as well as other Forest Preserves equity initiatives,” said General Superintendent Randall.

On March 24, the Forest Preserves and Commissioner Britton are partnering with the Illinois NAACP and ILACP, and the NAACP Chicago Westside and Southside branches for a Candid Conversation on Police Reform Based on the Ten Shared Principles. Community residents will provide direct feedback based on their lived experiences that will be central to the Forest Preserves’ efforts to be more welcoming to all residents, and to the NAACP and ILACP efforts to drive reform of police departments across Illinois.

The Ten Shared Principles were first affirmed by the ILACP and the NAACP in 2018. Since then, nearly 65 communities in Cook County, and more than 250 police departments and other organizations across Illinois have adopted the principles to signify their commitment to the public they serve.

Ten Shared Principles

  1. We value the life of every person and consider life to be the highest value.
  2. All persons should be treated with dignity and respect. This is another foundational value.
  3. We reject discrimination toward any person that is based on race, ethnicity, religion, color, nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or familial status.
  4. We endorse the six pillars in the report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The first pillar is to build and rebuild trust through procedural justice, transparency, accountability, and honest recognition of past and present obstacles.
  5. We endorse the four pillars of procedural justice, which are fairness, voice (i.e., an opportunity for citizens and police to believe they are heard), transparency, and impartiality.
  6. We endorse the values inherent in community policing, which includes community partnerships involving law enforcement, engagement of police officers with residents outside of interaction specific to enforcement of laws, and problem-solving that is collaborative, not one-sided.
  7. We believe that developing strong ongoing relationships between law enforcement and communities of color at the leadership level and street level will be the keys to diminishing and eliminating racial tension.
  8. We believe that law enforcement and community leaders have a mutual responsibility to encourage all citizens to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the law to assist them in their interactions with law enforcement officers.
  9. We support diversity in police departments and in the law enforcement profession. Law enforcement and communities have a mutual responsibility and should work together to make a concerted effort to recruit diverse police departments.
  10. We believe de-escalation training should be required to ensure the safety of community members and officers. We endorse using de-escalation tactics to reduce the potential for confrontations that endanger law enforcement officers and community members; and the principle that human life should be taken only as a last resort.

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