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Policing in Evanston

Jonah Meadows wrote an interesting piece yesterday for Evanston Patch. It covers Mayor Hagerty's most recent Policing Q&A, which focused on EPD School Resource officers in D65 and D202, and the relationship between EPD and Northwestern's police department. This was the third in the Mayor's series. The first focused on police training, the second on police budget, and next Monday's meeting, at noon, will address body cameras and police use of force.

On NU's private police department

Did you know?

The jurisdiction of NU's police department extends from Isabella Street in the north to Lake Street in the South, and from Lake Michigan to Asbury Avenue or Green Bay Road in the west. University police can cite or arrest anyone, regardless of their affiliation with the university, within that area, according to NU's police chief Bruce Lewis.

And did you know?

Campus police at private universities in Illinois are governed by the Private College Campus Police Act. State law gives its officers the same powers as sheriffs or municipal peace officers, other than serving civil court paperwork, but it does not subject them to the same transparency requirements. That means that if someone gets arrested by an Evanston police officer, the report and body camera footage — or any complaint that person might have filed about it — become public record. But if a university officer carries out the same arrest, the records are not subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Read Jonah's report.

Watch the most recent policing Q&A meeting.

Past policing Q&A meetings are available here.

The next meeting takes place at noon on Monday, July 27.

To watch, go to City of Evanston Illinois Government FB page or Channel 16.

Submit your questions live during the broadcast or in advance using the City’s Q&A form.


As we examine policing and its role in our country, our state, our city, our schools, as we ask serious questions about police budgets, and use of force, and what defunding means (or doesn't mean), and more, here are links to other discussions, events, and activities that have taken place, or will take place locally.

On Policing in Schools

Last week's District 202 board meeting included a discussion on School Resource Officers (SROs) at ETHS, their role, and whether they should be retained or removed. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and Assistant Superintendent Marcus Campbell spoke in support of retaining SROs and the board engage in a constructive discussion.

No vote was taken on the issue. The discussion starts at 1:36 in the video.

The Moran Center, which provides low-income Evanston youth and their families with integrated legal and social work services to improve their quality of life at home, at school, and within the Evanston community, sent a letter signed by its board of directors to the school board ahead of its meeting.

The letter called for ETHS to remove the two assigned EPD School Resource Officers from their permanent posts on-campus or, to delay action to allow for a more robust community dialogue on this issue.

"Our call to action is not in response to the Officers currently assigned to ETHS but rather a response to the policy of permanently stationing Officers at ETHS," the letter said. "The Moran Center does not discount the transformative, restorative contributions being made by Officers from the Evanston Police Department, including ETHS’s SROs--Tanya Jenkins and Loyce Spells--but focusing on personalities, even friends like Officers Jenkins and Spells, distracts from the structural and systemic harms caused by these positions."

District 65 recently voted to eliminate its school resource officers--allowing them to police the perimeter of its schools but not inside them.

What's your experience with SROs?

Evanston Fight for Black Lives, the young activists who organized the Evanston march and rally following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, are asking ETHS students and graduates to share their experiences -- positive and negative -- by sending them an email.

The group, which has been pushing the conversation among community members and elected officials, holds frequent protests and "Reclaim the Block" parties outside the Evanston Police Department. The next one is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday, and will feature a free yoga session lead by @peacelovedesto on instagram.

To date, four City Council members have publicly announced their support for defunding the Evanston Police Department: Peter Braithwaite, 2; Donald Wilson, 4; Robin Rue Simmons, 5; and Cicely Fleming, 9.

Learn about community policing in Evanston

Two weeks ago, Evanston Cradle to Career's Advocates4Action team talked with EPD Chief Demitrous Cook, Officers Tosha Wilson and Adam Howard, and Sgt. Scott Sophier, about the role of community policing in Evanston and programs that engage young people with police officers through a number of officer-led initiatives such as Adam Howard's inspiring mentorship program, Officer and Gentleman Academy, Tosha Wilson's STAR program for middle school girls, and others.

DE is reading and discussing Alex Vitale's The End of Policing on August 18--Vitale is our special guest

Learn more about policing in America, reimagine it, explore what defunding means--and doesn't mean. Remember to sign up for Dear Evanston's August 18 book group, which will take place on Zoom. We'll hear from Prof. Vitale and then break into small, facilitated discussion groups. You must live, learn, work, or worship in Evanston to participate.

Click here to register.

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