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The State of Policing in Naperville

The League of Women’s Voters recently held a forum on “Policing in Naperville,” during which the statement that got the biggest response was Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall’s answer to the question: “Will the Naperville Police Department assist immigration officials in rounding up and deporting illegal immigrants?”

“We will not, that’s our policy in our police department. Immigration laws are a federal offense. The Naperville Police Department enforces state and local laws, so we will not assist,” said Chief Marshall.

This answer comes amid calls from President Trump for local police forces to help ICE officials enforce federal immigration law.

Marshall was just one voice on a panel that included speakers from Mom’s Demand Action, the NAACP, and the ACLU

The group also discussed the relationship police departments have with minority communities.

“Across the country, in many places, where communities, not since Ferguson, not since some other event, but for generations have felt undeserved and mistreated,” said Ed Yohnka, Director of Communication for ACLU Illinois.

Last summer Brian Crooks, a former resident, shared an account of what it was like for him growing up as a black person in Naperville in the early 2000’s. Included were stories about being mistreated and threatened by police.

After the story went viral, Chief Marshall called Crooks and arranged a meeting, which recently took place.

“So I heard a little bit more about his experiences, and I was able to share with him some of the initiatives we’re doing in the police department right now,” said Chief Marshall.

Those initiatives include community outreach, like “Chat with the Chief,” and scenario based training in de-escalation tactics and explicit and implicit bias, and these programs have seen success.

When I go to events at the mosque, and the African American community, I hear very positive comments about how our police officers are treating all members of our community.

The department has also updated their “use of force” policy by turning it into a “response to resistance” policy and by implementing an accountability process to ensure force is used appropriately.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.


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