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Local News

Joliet may take up proposal for police review board

Advocates for change in the Joliet Police Department demonstrate outside Joliet City Hall in July.
Advocates for change in the Joliet Police Department demonstrate outside Joliet City Hall in July.

A Joliet City Council committee still intends to take up police reform, although it's not likely to consider most of the changes advocates have proposed.

One of those advocates, Johnathan Marquardt, criticized the council when it met Tuesday for not acting on proposed changes in the police department.

"We have played the game the way you want us to," Marquardt said. "All I've gotten is a cold shoulder and an occasional nasty phone call."

Marquardt said he got a call from one unnamed city official who refused to work with him.

Marquardt has been among a group of people that have included the Will County Progressives organization calling for the city to act on a list of about a dozen proposed changes in the Joliet Police Department.

Those proposals include a call for body cameras for all police officers, which the city has been exploring for more than a year. But city officials say there is not money in the city budget for body cameras and are pursuing federal grant money.

Terry Morris, chairman of the council's Land Use and Legislative Committee, said the committee is likely to take up the issue of police reform again.

"There should be another meeting, probably some time in December," Morris said Friday.

But Morris said the committee is likely to focus only on a citizens police oversight committee, which has been included in the advocates' proposals and also has been suggested by Mayor Bob O'Dekirk.

Some of the proposals from the group of advocates, including drug testing and diversity training, already are in place in the police department, although there is disagreement as to whether current measures are sufficient.

The advocates for change have also proposed a three-strike rule for police, in which they would be fired after three suspensions for three days or more, and a shifting of funding away from police pay to cover the costs of body cameras and fund social services.

The group has been critical of police unions whom Marquardt said have "the city in a stranglehold."

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