After appearance on Fox News to defend patch, Prospect High School resource officer reassigned
The Mount Prospect Police Department has reassigned Prospect High School resource Officer Lisa Schaps after her appearance on Fox News this week to defend the village's controversial police patch rankled some in Northwest Suburban High School District 214.
District 214 officials requested a different officer be assigned to the school, saying the district wants to distance Prospect from what has become a "very political" issue in the community.
"As the school resource officer assigned to one of our schools has become a police department spokesperson on this issue, we did recommend the consideration of having a different officer assigned to this school in order for our focus to remain on our students and school-related issues," a statement issued by the district Thursday reads.
Schaps joined fellow Officer Chris Berg on the "Fox and Friends" morning show Tuesday to discuss the patch and citizen complaints that its "thin blue line" imagery has been co-opted by extremists.
"I understand where they're coming from when I listen to the things that they're saying, but those were never our intentions. We never saw this as hateful or oppressive," Schaps said on the show. "That's where this needs to come from. It's not us against them."
While some residents and village trustees have urged the police department to change the patch, citing the imagery's use by white nationalists and other far-right groups, police leadership has held firm on keeping it.
"To me, it's about honor, it's about pride, it's about kinship ... I even said it's about love," Schaps said on Fox News.
Mount Prospect Police Chief John Koziol said the department will assign a new officer to Prospect and Schaps will work in investigations.
"She'll land on her feet here, though, because she's done nothing wrong," Koziol said. "She was articulate. She was professional. It's almost like police officers aren't allowed to speak from the heart anymore."
Schaps, a 15-year department veteran, said fallout from her Fox News appearance began Tuesday afternoon, when she received an email from Prospect Principal Greg Minter. The email said he and the superintendent received a number of emails and phone calls complaining about her comments.
She said she and Koziol met with Minter for 15 minutes on Wednesday, when she was told the school wanted a different officer.
"I cried during the meeting. Of course, it was very upsetting," Schaps said.
District officials declined to comment beyond their written statement.
"The Mount Prospect Police Department and their personnel have been, and continue to be, great partners, and we look forward to that partnership continuing into the future," the statement reads.
Besides working in investigations, Schaps will continue to be the facilitator of the department's peer jury program.
"I'll persevere. I'll keep going. It's really unfortunate. That really was my dream," she said. "I know kids have a lot of anxiety over safety in schools. And I really always wanted them to know that first and foremost, I was there to protect them.
"I just feel like It was such an opportunity to build those bridges. It's not the way that I wanted it to end."