Aurora's new police chief says 'it's about building relationships'

  • Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross

    Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross

  • Dr. Avnit Singh Kapoor of Burr Ridge, left, Rajinder Singh Mago of Wayne, and state Sen. Ann Gillespie demonstrate warm-up stretches for race participants before the Sikh Religious Society's fourth annual "Oneness 5K Run/Walk" Aug. 7 in Palatine.

    Dr. Avnit Singh Kapoor of Burr Ridge, left, Rajinder Singh Mago of Wayne, and state Sen. Ann Gillespie demonstrate warm-up stretches for race participants before the Sikh Religious Society's fourth annual "Oneness 5K Run/Walk" Aug. 7 in Palatine. Courtesy of Indermohan Singh Mokha

  • U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood

    U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood

 
 
Posted8/16/2021 5:30 AM

New Aurora top cop Keith Cross recently took over the reins from Police Chief Kristen Ziman, who retired after a 30-year career with the department.

Cross was sworn in Wednesday at his alma mater, East Aurora High School, to lead a police force of about 300 sworn officers in the state's second-largest city.

 

A 27-year veteran of the Aurora Police Department, Cross has served in several roles, including patrol officer, community policing officer, school resource officer, crisis hostage negotiator, coordinator for field officer training, lieutenant, commander and most recently deputy chief.

He has worked to help strengthen police and community relations since last summer's social unrest following the May 25, 2020, murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

"The key to improving and maintaining trust between law enforcement and communities that they serve ... it's about building relationships," said Cross, also a coach, mentor and past president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Northern Illinois chapter.

Aurora launched a CHANGE Reform Initiative as a result of Floyd's death to hear community members' concerns about policing. The city also created a citizens' review board to address complaints against police, while the police department is partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to recruit more diverse candidates.

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Roughly 200 people participated in the Sikh Religious Society's fourth annual "Oneness 5K Run/Walk" Aug. 7.
Roughly 200 people participated in the Sikh Religious Society's fourth annual "Oneness 5K Run/Walk" Aug. 7. - Courtesy of Indermohan Singh Mokha
Sikh community walk

Roughly 200 men, women and children participated in Sikh Religious Society's fourth annual "Oneness 5K Run/Walk" Aug. 7 in Palatine.

The interfaith event brought neighborhoods and different faith communities together in solidarity with the Sikh American community.

State Sen. Ann Gillespie kicked off the race, distributed medals to participants and special awards to the winners. Gurshaan Singh Sohi of Buffalo Grove placed first with a time of 23.08 minutes. Second- and third-place winners were Dr. Sutpal Singh of Hoffman Estates, 23.14 minutes, and Johann Aakre of Chicago, 23.25 minutes, respectively.

Suicide prevention

Muslim adults are more likely to report a history of suicide compared to other faith groups, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The study, based on research by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, found that American Muslims have twice the rate of suicide attempts compared to other surveyed faith groups.

Nearly 8% of Muslims surveyed reported a suicide attempt in their lifetime compared with 6% of Catholics, 5% of protestants and 3.6% of Jewish respondents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Lombard-based Khalil Center also offers a crisis line at (855) 5HELPKC. Access ISPU's Muslim mental health tool kit at ispu.org/mental-health/ and The Family and Youth Institute's tool kits on mental health, relationships and community at thefyi.org/toolkits/.

Bilingual paraeducators

Des Plaines Elementary District 62 is seeking bilingual paraeducators who are Spanish and Polish speakers for its elementary and middle schools.

Candidates will support students in a variety of environments throughout the day with academic instruction, behavior support and functional skills, help teachers with different tasks, ensure students' safety and security throughout the day, and supervise children while the classroom teacher is engaged in remote teaching.

To apply, visit bit.ly/62Paraeducators. For more information, call Janet Arroyo at (847) 824-1173.

Free convention

The Islamic Society of North America's 58th annual convention, held in Rosemont in recent years, will be virtual and free this year.

The theme for this year's convention, on Sept. 4 and 5, is "Re-imagine and Rebuild with Renewed Resolve." It will feature speakers, inspirational sessions, entertainment, community service awards and ethnic vendors.

Register at registration.socio.events/e/isnaconvention.

Suicide prevention resources

New legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood of Naperville aims to address an upward trend of suicide rates among children and young adults, which could be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Underwood, a registered nurse representing the 14th Congressional District, will unveil the proposed measure during a news conference at noon today at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. It would provide health care professionals the training and resources they need to identify and support young people at risk for suicide.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24.

Mosque service challenge

Voting begins today and ends Friday for the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago's Social Justice Service Challenge.

CIOGC provided $1,000 grants to 26 Chicago-area mosques and Islamic centers to help implement social justice service projects in their communities.

Projects include: a farmers market, Islamic Center of Naperville; building bottle cap murals to help the environment, Islamic Foundation of Villa Park; mental health education, Muslim Association of Bolingbrook; an art exhibition focused on social injustice, Islamic Center of Wheaton; providing warm meals, water and basic necessities to the homeless, The Mecca Center in Willowbrook; distributing food boxes, Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville.

The winning project will receive a $5,000 grand prize. The winner, selected by community members voting this week, will be announced 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, during a Zoom awards ceremony. To register, visit bit.ly/3xBXzHO.

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com.

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