Illinois Village to Post Signs: "No Racial Profiling Allowed"

Affiliate: ACLU of Illinois
June 21, 2000 12:00 am


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PARK FOREST, IL — According to a story in today’s Daily Southtown, racial profiling is prohibited in the Village of Park Forest, and now trustees plan to inform the public of that policy with signs. This week, village officials began discussing a plan to post nine signs declaring the village’s position on racial profiling at entrances to the village.

The newspaper reported that the exact wording has not been determined, but the signs will state, in some manner, that racial profiling is not tolerated in Park Forest. Racial profiling is the targeting of any individual based on skin color, race, ethnicity or religion. In addition to the new signs, Director of Police Robert Maeyama has been asked to present the Village Board with a formal police policy detailing ramifications should a police officer violate the village’s anti-racial profiling policy. Mayor John Ostenburg said the Police Department already adheres to anti-racial profiling practices, but that a strict policy would benefit the department. Ostenburg said the village is taking a “proactive stance” against discrimination. “This is not inflammatory,” Ostenburg said. “This does not indicate we have a problem.

“This is consistent with the image of Park Forest going back to the days when we voluntarily started an integration commission to avoid discrimination.”

“This is very proactive,” he added.

The suggestion to erect signs came several weeks ago from the village’s Human Relations Commission. Maeyama said the Police Department “certainly is concerned” about racial profiling.

“We will be working with the village attorney and conducting extensive research to develop a specific policy to address this,” he said. “We are really looking at this issue carefully,” he said. “It has been made very clear to every officer that the village and the Police Department do not tolerate racial profiling in any case.”

Furthermore, the department has sought and recruited minorities for a cross-section of representation in the department.

“In general, we are also working to improve our contacts with the public,” Maeyama said. Village Manager Janet Muchnik said the staff plans to get the special-order signs soon. “We received a clear indication from the board that they want the signs,” Muchnik said. “We just have to make sure that the language is correct and then we will place the order.”

(More information about racial profiling concerns in Illinois is available at: http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w060800a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w041000d.html , http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w040600a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w032500b.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/n030300a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w021200c.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w011100a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w010700a.html, and http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w011900a.html

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