Decision coming on police patch? Mount Prospect board to discuss controversial issue

Mount Prospect's village board will meet Aug. 10 to discuss and possibly decide the fate of the police uniform patch that's gone from a local controversy to national debate over the past month.

"If you come to the meeting, you will be given time to speak," Mayor Paul Hoefert told village residents Tuesday during a village board committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Village Manager Michael Cassady said the meeting would also be a great opportunity for board members to address what's become a divisive issue in the community.

"We have heard the community speak a lot on both sides, many sides, of this issue. And really the village board has not had the opportunity to have that dialogue," he said.

Two trustees, Augie Filippone and Peggy Pissarreck, have expressed opposition to the patch, but most have remained neutral in their public comments.

The uniform patch features a black-and-white American flag with a single blue stripe. Police and the patch's supporters say the "thin blue line" honors law enforcement officers who've died in the line of duty. But opponents maintain that the imagery has been co-opted by extremist groups, and its use by the police departments is intimidating to people of color.

The issue was thrust into the national spotlight in June when Police Chief John Koziol and two officers appeared on Fox News to defend the patch.

Although several patch supporters attended Tuesday's meeting, none addressed the issue during public comment unlike previous board sessions.

Trustee John Matuszak noted that several held signs reading, "We Back the Blue & All First Responders."

"A lot of them can speak just by just holding up the signs that they brought tonight," Matuszak said.

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