Area law enforcement officers who attended the Flossmoor board meeting Monday, March 4, file out of the room following public comments. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
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Flossmoor residents fill board room to show support for police chief

Area law enforcement officers who attended the Flossmoor board meeting Monday, March 4, file out of the room following public comments. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Area law enforcement officers who attended the Flossmoor board meeting Monday, March 4, file out of the room following public comments. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Rumors have been swirling in recent days that Flossmoor Police Chief Jerel Jones’ job was in jeopardy, and while village officials have not commented on the matter, Jones’ supporters showed up at the board meeting Monday, March 4, to express their dismay.

The board room was standing-room-only and a number of residents watched from the foyer as the public comment portion of the meeting continued for half an hour. Among the audience was about 20 uniformed law enforcement officers from various area jurisdictions.

Eight of the 10 people who spoke addressed rumors that Jones and Deputy Chief Keith Taylor were going to be dismissed, and all of the eight expressed support for the two police department leaders.

Sugar Al-Amin noted that Jones had not yet been in the job a whole year yet. Jones is the village’s first Black police chief. He was sworn in at the board’s March 27, 2023, meeting

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“I am here in solidarity of our chief. I am here in solidarity of our village,” she said. “If it is you all’s plans to get rid of our chief and our deputy chief, we will not accept that lying down.”

Felicia Clotworthy, principal of Infant Jesus of Prague School, also defended Jones. She had praise for his character and lauded his response to a disturbing experience she had.

“I received a very disparaging letter that referred to me as the ‘N’ word,” she said. “The swift response of Chief Jones was compelling.”

Jones and Taylor were present but did not speak publicly during the meeting.

Two speakers were members of village committees. 

Kevin Dorsey, who serves on the Community Relations Commission, implored the board to shed light on the causes of any attempt to remove Jones.

“Some things are way too important to be discussed in the dark. I feel this is one of them,” he said. “Don’t make this decision about Chief Jones in the dark.”

Village officials are often constrained from speaking publicly about personnel matters.

Ron Alston, who recently was appointed to the village Police and Fire Commissioners Board, said he was unaware there were any problems with Jones’ performance. He asked Mayor Michelle Nelson and Village Manager Bridget Wachtel to meet with the board and explain the situation. 

After public comments concluded, half or more of the audience filed out of the board room, including Jones and Taylor. Taylor later returned to the meeting.

Flossmoor Police Chief Jerel Jones leaves the board room following the public comment portion of the Board of Trustees meeting. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Flossmoor Police Chief Jerel Jones leaves the board room following
the public comment portion of the Board of Trustees meeting.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Following the regular board business, three trustees offered comments on the situation. Joni Bradley-Scott, George Lofton and Rosalind Mustafa each expressed support for Jones.

“I support Chief Jerel Jones,” Mustafa said. “I support the right to have a fair opportunity to demonstrate the excellence that he has already shown and is capable of.”

Bradley-Scott and Lofton both thanked the residents for attending and voicing their concerns.

“I hope you know through this meeting today and through meetings moving forward that you always have a voice here,” Bradley-Scott said to remaining audience members. “I want our board to continuously lean in favor of what the residents say. Our residents are why we all sit here.”

Mustafa made a motion as the meeting was coming to an end to convene in closed session to discuss personnel matters. 

In a rare split vote, the motion was defeated after Mayor Michelle Nelson voted “no” to break the tie. Trustees Bradley-Scott, Lofton and Mustafa voted yes. Trustee Gary Daggatt prefaced his vote by saying without the village’s labor counsel present to guide the discussion, he would vote “no.” Trustees Jim Mitros and Brian Driscoll also voted “no.”

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