Letters to the EditorThursday, Feb. 19, 2015
Letters to the Editor 2/19/15
MORE POLICE DIVERSITY
In 1972, the Illinois State Police hired a young, black state trooper from Rockford to join the force in District 15. He returned to Rockford to patrol the tollway from Rockford to Chicago. Three years later, the state police selected this trooper to head their Office of Affirmative Action and head their statewide recruitment campaign. Under a reorganization plan in 1977, the trooper was named the Equal Employment Opportunity director for the Department of Law Enforcement.
From 1975 to 1989, the state police workforce changed from 1.9 black troopers to 27.7 minority and female troopers. During this same time frame, mayoral candidates from the city of Springfield promised to change the racial makeup of the Springfield Police Department. But, the minority participation in the police department has decreased since I became EEO director in 1977. Since serving as the EEO director for ISP, I served as chair of the Springfield Civil Service Commission, chair of the EEO Advisory Committee to the director of the Marshal Service, and the Justice Department published my now-famous article, “Strategies for Increasing Black Police Executives,” in the FBI Bulletin, May-June 1983.
When organizations want to attract and retain a diverse workforce they put an office of diversity in place, hire a competent and innovative administrator and change the necessary policies to remove barriers. Examples include the Sacred Heart-Griffin High School Office of Diversity, the University of Illinois Springfield Office of Diversity, the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Diversity, District 186’s minority recruiter and the Illinois State Police.
The elected officials of Springfield continue to demonstrate that they have no interest in attracting a diverse police workforce. My career is an illustration of what an African-American police officer can achieve in a supporting community environment.
Author, The President’s Men
United States Marshal (Ret.)
OPEN (SECRET) PRIMARIES
Don’t be scared to vote in the nonpartisan primary this Tuesday in Springfield. This is not one of those primaries where you have to tell the election judge if you are a Democrat or a Republican.
Tuesday’s important primary for mayor and Ward 2 alderman is actually an open primary where your ballot is totally secret. It’s the kind I’ve been working hard for since 2006 when I first put this issue on the ballot as an advisory referendum in Springfield and later in 22 other localities around our state. Voters everywhere overwhelmingly voted “yes” for the open primary. Unfortunately, we still have those oppressive closed primaries where you have to publicly declare your party, but they are only in even years when we elect presidents and governors.
Too many people have told me they’re not voting Tuesday because they think they’ll have to declare a party. They are wrong. Don’t be one of them.
Be smart. You wouldn’t start a football game in the second half. Tuesday’s election is the first round of a two-round election for mayor and Ward 2 alderman. Please exercise your precious right to vote Tuesday. If you do, your vote will be totally secret… you have my word on that.