Scenes from Homewood Fall Fest 2019

The village of Homewood recently posted police department policies on its website, and officials said the move was part of a larger project to increase transparency and improve communication. 

“We all know our policies and procedures and how we do things and why we do things, but our community might not,” said Jennifer Quirke, Homewood’s marketing director. “It’s providing us another way to be transparent, which is what we always strive to do in the first place.” 

The police department page now has links to policies on bias-based policing, discriminatory harassment, standards of conduct, training, use of force and the procedure for residents to file complaints.

The policies were posted following a demonstration at police headquarters on June 5, which was sparked by a report in a local social media channel of a man being stopped while jogging. Several people replied with stories of their own about being racially profiled by area police.

Village Manager Jim Marino said the social media posting could not be verified, noting police don’t have a record of the encounter and the person who made the post declined to provide information that would allow police to investigate. 

The demonstration prompted village officials to provide police policies in order to answer residents’ questions about how the department operates. Police policies and practices have dominated the national conversation since the May 25 killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, which sparked worldwide protests against racial violence.

Quirke said the attention on policing provided the village an opportunity to be more transparent, which is a top goal in the village’s strategic plan. She said the village is working on a more comprehensive effort to improve communication.

The project will eventually include providing more information not only about the police department but also about the fire department, public works and administration and how each operates.

An early step forward was a redesign of the village website with changes that are intended to make information more accessible and account for questions residents might have. 

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