Flossmoor has its first Black police chief.
It’s not the first time Jerel Jones has broken new ground. He was the first Black police chief in Macomb, his previous position.
But his race was not the focus of comments from trustees at the board meeting Monday, March 27. They lauded Jones’s record and character prior to voting unanimously to confirm Mayor Michelle Nelson’s choice as Flossmoor’s new chief.
Nelson said Jones stood out among 18 candidates from across country because of his extensive detective work, his commitment to 21st century community policing and to the “10 Shared Principles” of law enforcement developed by the NAACP Illinois State Conference and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. Flossmoor adopted the principles in 2019.
Nelson also lauded Jones’s skill with youth engagement, recruitment of new officers and working with residents and media.
“His leadership and reputation throughout the state is at the highest level,” she said.
Trustees echoed Nelson’s praise and joined her in thanking Deputy Chief Keith Taylor for serving as interim chief for four months following the retirement of former chief Tod Kamleiter. Taylor was named deputy chief in August 2022. They also thanked Timothy Filkins for serving as acting commander during the interim period.
Trustee Gary Daggert said in addition to Jones’s other qualifications, he was impressed with his social media presence, noting that his posts were “timely, poignant, necessary and gave me a lot of faith in some of the decisions … you might have to make here.”
Trustee Joni Bradley-Scott agreed with Nelson that Jones’s experience working at a college and engaging with younger children would be a big asset in Flossmoor, where education is highly valued.
Jones spoke briefly after taking the oath of office.
“I am very humbled and honored to serve as chief of police in the village of Flossmoor,” he said. “Being a chief in today’s society is very challenging. There are a lot of tough roads to navigate.”
He said succeeding in those challenges depends on having a good team to work with.
“You’re only as good as the men and women on your team,” he said.
He offered special thanks to his family. His wife, two children, mother, step-father and father were there to witness his acceptance of the new post.
Jones said among his top priorities will be a focus on recruiting and retaining quality officers and building trust with the community.
“We must be strategic, we must work meticulously and methodically. I don’t make rushed decisions. I like to get buy-in.” he said. “We will provide Flossmoor and surrounding communities with professional, unbiased police response. Community policing, not just public relations, building trust, building those bridges over time.”
The Flossmoor police department and village officials faced months of criticism from activists following the police shooting of Madeline Miller in July 2022. The village has been working on improving relations since then. The village Community Relations Commission presented recommendations at the board’s March 6 meeting.
- Flossmoor PD adopts ‘10 Shared Principles’ focused on trust between police, people of color (Sept. 24, 2019, H-F Chronicle)
- Flossmoor commission delivers recommendations on police-community relations to board (March 13, 2023, H-F Chronicle)
- Flossmoor announces Police Chief Tod Kamleiter to retire (Nov. 2, 2022, H-F Chronicle)
- ‘There will always be challenges:’ Macomb’s first Black police chief reflects on his first year (April 15, 2022, Tri States Public Radio)
- Jerel Jones set to become Macomb’s first Black police chief (Feb. 15, 2021, WAND TV)