Elgin chief cautions against speculation about large police presence Friday
A large number of police squad cars on the 2000 block of Padua Drive in Elgin sparked social media rumors Friday about an active shooter or hostage situation that Police Chief Ana Lalley said it was a good example of why residents shouldn't jump to conclusions or spark unnecessary fears.
The department alerted the community about the police presence about 9 a.m. in a Facebook post. It called on residents to avoid the area but did not provide information about the nature of the problem. Police updated the post at 9:30 a.m. to say the situation was peacefully resolved.
Lalley started her weekly radio show at 10:30 a.m. by addressing the unfounded rumors.
"It was an isolated domestic-related situation," she said. "It was not a barricaded subject. And if it was an active shooter, that's a very different notification we'd make to the community."
The police department doesn't typically release details about domestic incidents out of respect for private family matters. Lalley said an incident that normally would not bring attention outside of the neighborhood -- this one drew the attention of TV news helicopters -- fueled social media speculation.
"People like to fill in the blanks sometimes," she said. "That's very dangerous. We constantly communicate with the public, but there is a process where we have to respect people's privacy. Officers go to a lot of domestic incidents that don't rise to this level of attention."
Lalley explained the number of squad cars responding was based on initial information given to police. Upon further investigation, officers lessened the police presence.
"Just because there is a lot of police, don't take that as a sign that it has risen to the level of an active shooter," she said. "Our response depends on the information we get, and that is fluid."
Lalley said she does not expect the department will make any more details about the situation public.
"It's a private matter," she said. "There were some children involved. Everyone is safe."