After controversy, Mount Prospect will now offer 2 vehicle sticker designs
Mount Prospect now is giving a choice to residents between two vehicle stickers: the initial one designed to emphasize community policing efforts that was withdrawn midweek after critics complained that it features imagery co-opted by some white nationalist groups, and a replacement celebrating the police department's community outreach and inclusion efforts.
About 40 people attended a monthly coffee Saturday morning with village officials, and most were supportive of how village officials had handled the issue. A number of people talked about the village needing to promote better understanding between people of different cultures, races and views, and some expressed disappointment in divisive and derogatory comments made in anonymous online posts.
Mayor Arlene Juracek and other village officials said the village's response had evolved during the week as the discussion over the stickers continued and now is different from what was outlined in a news release issued Wednesday night after the issue emerged last weekend and heightened during discussion at a village board meeting Tuesday.
While the release said the first sticker would no longer be distributed, it currently is being sold to people who ask for it in person at the finance department. People who order online get the new sticker.
Juracek said 2,000 of the stickers had been distributed before the controversy arose, and some people pushed back against its being removed.
"It's a compromise," she said, adding there are people of good will and good heart on both sides.
"Thanks for the choice," resident Mark Pope said. "I felt insulted that it (the first sticker) was taken away so fast."
But Joseph Plata, a former participant in Mount Prospect's Citizens Police Academy who spoke out against the first sticker at Tuesday's board meeting, sent village officials a letter Saturday morning expressing dismay that the sticker was still being distributed, saying it sent the wrong message.
"I challenge you to find one POC (person of color) in this town that openly supports this latest decision," he wrote.
Some online commenters complained that the new sticker, while it has a U.S. flag in the foreground, has a Puerto Rican flag in the background.
"The new sticker is beautiful," Juracek said, explaining that the photo was taken at a parade of flags of many countries. "It could have been the Polish flag or any other flag."
The Puerto Rican children holding the flag came to Mount Prospect after Hurricane Maria after the father did research and decided it was a great community, she said. It is costing $6,000 to produce the new stickers, she said.
As for the underlying issues that surfaced during the controversy, "I think the conversation is just beginning," she said.