On March 23, Commissioner Britton joined President Toni Preckwinkle and Forest Preserve District of Cook County leadership for a signing of the Police Department of the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s commitment to the Ten Shared Principles.
Created by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) and the Illinois NAACP to bridge a gap between law enforcement and communities of color, the Ten Shared Principles provide a basis for improving relations between police officers and the residents they serve.
Commissioner Donna Miller, ILACP President-Elect and Hazel Crest Chief of Police Mitchell Davis, President of the NAACP Illinois State Conference Teresa Haley, Chair of the Illinois NAACP Criminal Justice Committee Robert Moore, and President of the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP Karl Brinson were also in attendance for this historic signing.
The Forest Preserves Police Department was a natural choice to sign on to the Ten Shared Principles as the officers perform a dual role: both the conventional duties of sworn police officers and tasks and duties performed by conservation officers. They are state certified and enforce state, county and Forest Preserves laws and ordinances across the nearly 70,000 acres of the Forest Preserves. They also receive specialized conservation training from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for responsibilities such as stopping poaching and serve as nature ambassadors to the public, including hundreds of annual patrols on the trails and in the preserves.
The signing event was followed by a Candid Conversation on Police Reform Based on the Ten Shared Principles on March 24, in partnership with the Forest Preserves and Illinois NAACP and ILACP, and the NAACP Chicago Westside and Southside branches. Community members and leaders were able to provide direct feedback based on their lived experiences. This information will be central to the Forest Preserves’ efforts to be more welcoming to all residents and to the NAACP and ILACP efforts to drive reform of police departments across Illinois.
The Ten Shared Principles were first affirmed by the ILACP and the NAACP in 2018. Since then, nearly 65 communities in Cook County, and more than 250 police departments and other organizations across Illinois have adopted the principles to signify their commitment to the public they serve.
Ten Shared Principles
1. We value the life of every person and consider life to be the highest value.
2. All persons should be treated with dignity and respect. This is another foundational value.
3. We reject discrimination toward any person that is based on race, ethnicity, religion, color, nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or familial status.
4. We endorse the six pillars in the report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The first pillar is to build and rebuild trust through procedural justice, transparency, accountability, and honest recognition of past and present obstacles.
5. We endorse the four pillars of procedural justice, which are fairness, voice (i.e., an opportunity for citizens and police to believe they are heard), transparency, and impartiality.
6. We endorse the values inherent in community policing, which includes community partnerships involving law enforcement, engagement of police officers with residents outside of interaction specific to enforcement of laws, and problem-solving that is collaborative, not one-sided.
7. We believe that developing strong ongoing relationships between law enforcement and communities of color at the leadership level and street level will be the keys to diminishing and eliminating racial tension.
8. We believe that law enforcement and community leaders have a mutual responsibility to encourage all citizens to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the law to assist them in their interactions with law enforcement officers.
9. We support diversity in police departments and in the law enforcement profession. Law enforcement and communities have a mutual responsibility and should work together to make a concerted effort to recruit diverse police departments.
10. We believe de-escalation training should be required to ensure the safety of community members and officers. We endorse using de-escalation tactics to reduce the potential for confrontations that endanger law enforcement officers and community members; and the principle that human life should be taken only as a last resort.