Elgin police task force stalled because consultants need $90,000 extra funding – Chicago Tribune

The Elgin Community Policing Task Force stalled until city officials decided to provide additional funding of $90,000 to the consulting firm hired to facilitate the meetings.

Members of Elgin City Council last year approved a $160,000 contract with Kearns & West to create a task force to review the policies, procedures and practices of the Elgin Police Department.

The group is responsible for making recommendations and determining “how EPD can most effectively and fairly provide law enforcement services to all members of the community,” according to the police department’s website.

Eighteen community members were appointed and began meeting in September. Sub-committees were formed to review resource allocation, training, recruiting, hiring, retention, promotion, racial disparities and other profiles, as well as a civilian review committee. Until the beginning of the month, they had been meeting regularly since January.

Kearns & West was originally supposed to host 24 task force meetings but hosted more than 30 last month, City Manager Rick Kozal said at a special task force meeting Monday.

“It was more work than originally expected,” he said. The contract extension would cover an additional 20 sub-committee meetings and seven full working group meetings.

The task force had the option of continuing to work with Kearns & West, hiring a new company to guide meetings, or facilitating meetings on its own.

“If we think about how we would go through the process of getting a new facilitator, we’re going to lose that momentum and we’ll waste extra time,” task member Ismael Cordova said at Monday’s meeting. . “I don’t think we should necessarily spend as much money as Kearns & West costs, but we have already started that process.”

“I think we should move forward with the momentum we’ve created together,” Cordova said.

The task force has already done a lot of work but needs to move forward efficiently, said member Shimon Blanchard.

“I think the most important thing for us right now is to establish where we are, look at what we need to do and come up with a timeline,” he said.

He is not convinced that Kearns & West can keep the task force on track based on the experience with the consultants so far, and he voted against keeping the company.

A majority of 13 task force members who attended Monday’s meeting voted to recommend the city stay with Kearns & West, two members abstained. The task force members also agreed to conclude the work of the subcommittees, which could keep the cost at $90,000.

The sub-committees will meet once more and then merge with the full working group. He will set a new deadline in September to publish his report.

The board will discuss the contract extension in mid-May. Task force member Walter Blalark asked the group’s two liaisons, board members Toby Shaw and Tish Powell, what sense they had of how the board might vote on granting the additional funding.

The board hasn’t publicly discussed the topic, but “I will say that I really believe the full board will be interested in hearing from the task force about where the task force is going,” Powell said.

Gloria Casas is a freelance journalist for The Courier-News.

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