Mount Prospect police selling controversial former uniform patch for charity
The Mount Prospect Police Department is selling its decommissioned police patches to raise money for a charity that supports the families of first responders killed in the line of duty.
The police department removed the patch this summer after a yearlong controversy over its "thin blue line" imagery, which some in the community argued has been co-opted by white supremacist and other extremist groups.
In August, village trustees voted 4-3 to recommend removal of the patch, over the objections of police officers and some residents.
Now police are selling the patches for $10, or $15 for an honor guard version, with proceeds benefiting the 100 Club of Illinois.
Police Chief John Koziol said he came up with the idea after persuading the police officers' union to back off its plans to file a grievance over the removal.
"Their claim was that the uniforms were their property, per the contract, and any alteration to said uniform required bargaining," Koziol said in a written statement. "I spoke with them and asked that they not file such a grievance as I thought it would paint the hardworking men and women of MPPD in a bad light with those they serve. At that time I promised I would find something positive to do with our decommissioned uniform patches."
The police department announced the sale last week on its Facebook page. Patches can be purchased at the front desk of the police headquarters, 911 E. Kensington Road.
Village Trustee Peggy Pissarreck, who voted for the patch's removal, said she supports the sale.
"I am all about turning a negative into a positive," she said.
However, she's critical of the Facebook post, which she said inaccurately states that village board members "ordered" the department to decommission the patch.
"We made a recommendation," she said. "There was a straw poll. That's not a binding vote. So, it was not an order to remove."
Pissarreck blamed the post on Village Manager Michael Cassady, whom she accused of "stoking division by propagating misleading posts like this."
Cassady responded that the patches were removed at the direction of the elected board members.
"The post put out by the police department about the sales of the patches reflected accurately what occurred," he said. "We just agree to disagree. It wasn't even a straw poll. It was a roll-call vote of the village board of trustees."
The sale has received a good response from the public, Cassady said.
"You can't get a more appropriate charitable organization to contribute to," he said.