DuPage leaders mourn slain Dallas officers
DuPage leaders mourn slain Dallas officers, discuss interaction between cops, minorities
Nearly 200 residents gathered on the campus of Benedictine University to commemorate the lives of the five Dallas police officers who were killed by a sniper in line of duty.
Lisle Police Chief David Anderson was among several speakers at the Saturday, July 16, event, hosted by DuPage Unity in Diversity Memorial.
Anderson acknowledged there is "deep and profound grief for the losses in both the law enforcement community and minority communities across this country."
He emphasized the importance of compliance with officer directives to avoid possible use of force. But he added: "Compliance does not mean agreement. It does not mean that the officer was right, but it is the cornerstone for safety for all parties involved. We have to begin working on building trust in the other remedies that people can use if they are unhappy with a police encounter or action."
Those remedies include:
• Fair and impartial investigations of use-of-force incidents.
• Fair and impartial investigations of citizen complaints.
• Education regarding the rights of citizens who encounter the police; ensuring that community members know when they are required to comply and then what to do after the encounter if they feel unjustly treated.
The event was initiated by Aurora resident Regina Brent, president of the DuPage Diversity Committee. It was co-hosted by Benedictine University's Center for Civic Leadership, the Islamic Center of Naperville, and the DuPage County Police Chiefs Association.
Other presenters included Michael Brophy, president of Benedictine University; Lisle Mayor Joseph Broda; DuPage State's Attorney Robert Berlin; DuPage County Board member Jim Healy, who spoke on behalf of Chairman Dan Cronin; and former York Township trustee Moon Khan, among many others.
Religious leaders who spoke included the Rev. James Miller and the Rev. Elliot Griffin of the DuPage AME church; Shoaib Khadri, president of the Islamic Center of Naperville; and Roger Chawla and Rajinder Singh Mago, community outreach leaders for the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago.
Berlin said his office has prided itself on holding everyone, including the police, to the same standards, and wrongdoing is prosecuted when the facts warrant.
Several speakers expressed sadness that misunderstandings and cultural differences were often at the core of problematic encounters.
Rajinder Singh Mago, community relations director of the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago, spoke frankly regarding the religiously mandated turban and the facial hair commonly seen on Sikh men. He said he was often viewed suspiciously and, until recently, Sikh citizens were unable to serve in our military, and to this day, they are rarely seen on local police forces.
People, he said, often wonder where he is from or if he speaks English, only to find out that he recently retired from Navistar after more than 40 years.
Municipal police departments represented included Bensenville, Darien, Downers Grove, Hanover Park, Lisle, Naperville, Oak Brook, Westmont and Wood Dale, plus Benedictine University Police and the Kane County Sheriff's office.
Following the two-hour memorial presentation, a short vigil service was held. Afterward, police officers formed a receiving line and received messages of condolence on the loss of their Dallas colleagues.
The DuPage Diversity Steering Committee includes Anderson and Brent, plus Ron Allen, Fred Greenwood, Sadia Covert, Morris Brent, Marquell Oliver, Paul Scott and Keith Allen.