North Central College asks Naperville police to stage operations elsewhere
North Central College has asked Naperville police to stop using its campus as a staging area after people saw "heavily armed" police officers there during recent protests.
In a message sent to the campus community Saturday, college President Troy Hammond said his staff reached out to end the long-standing practice of allowing police to use the campus to stage equipment for public safety operations during large downtown events.
Hammond said officers used college property while preparing for protests last week, and he later saw images shared of "heavily armed police officers on our campus."
"I myself was taken aback by the images that I saw. I recognize that for many in our community, a police presence of this kind causes trauma, particularly for our black students, faculty and staff. For that, I am sorry," Hammond said in his message, which was posted to the college's website. "Black lives matter and that must be reflected in our actions and words consistently."
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico recognized the city's long-established partnership with the college, which has included the city providing officers, resources and security coordination to ensure safety for large college events.
"The college and the city have always worked very, very closely on all of our security for both the city and the college," Chirico said Monday. "I have no reason to believe that anything has changed."
Naperville police Chief Robert Marshall did not immediately return calls Monday, while another protest took place on city streets in the afternoon.
In his message to the campus, Hammond said the college has "learning to do ourselves" and is seeking feedback about ways it can improve public safety work.
"We will be a voice for change and progress in support of those who are raising their voices in protest against police brutality, racism, and the senseless deaths of black people," Hammond said.