100 Illinois police departments (and counting) adopt “Shared Principles” to build bridges to communities of color


SPRINGFIELD – One-hundred Illinois law enforcement agencies have adopted the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois State Conference of the NAACP’s agreed 10 Shared Principles document. The first of its kind in our nation’s history aims to identify common ground between local law enforcement and communities of color in commitment and passion for defending civil rights and keeping communities safe.

“This is a huge step in the right direction for law enforcement and communities,” said Chief Brian Fengel, President of the ILACP. “What I’ve found is, our differences are not that far apart. We all want the same things for our communities— and that’s a safer community. I think by understanding each other’s sides and listening to one another we can all achieve that.”

The two statewide associations adopted these principles on March 22, 2018, after more than two years of conversation and dialogue about them. Since then, local departments around the state have been adopting these principles as their own, and the number of departments doing so passed the 100-mark last week.

The ILACP and the NAACP share the optimism and responsibility of building trust, developing formal and informal relationships at the local and state levels.

“I’m so proud of the 100 departments that have recognized the importance of this document and its meaning,” said Teresa Haley president of the Illinois NAACP. “This has really been a great partnership between the NAACP and the ILACP. We have taken baby steps, but we are growing and will continue to grow by being proactive.”

The 10 Shared Principles are as followed:

1. We value the life of every person and consider life to be the highest value.

2. All persons should be treated with dignity and respect. This is another foundational value.

3. We reject discrimination toward any person that is based on race, ethnicity, religion, color, nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or familial status. 

4. We endorse the six pillars in the report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The first pillar is to build and rebuild trust through procedural justice, transparency, accountability, and honest recognition of past and present obstacles.

5. We endorse the four pillars of procedural justice, which are fairness, voice (i.e., an opportunity for citizens and police to believe they are heard), transparency, and impartiality.

6. We endorse the values inherent in community policing, which includes community partnerships involving law enforcement, engagement of police officers with residents outside of interaction specific to enforcement of laws, and problem-solving that is collaborative, not one-sided.

7. We believe that developing strong ongoing relationships between law enforcement and communities of color at the leadership level and street level will be the keys to diminishing and eliminating racial tension.

8. We believe that law enforcement and community leaders have a mutual responsibility to encourage all citizens to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the law to assist them in their interactions with law enforcement officers.

9. We support diversity in police departments and in the law enforcement profession. Law enforcement and communities have a mutual responsibility and should work together to make a concerted effort to recruit diverse police departments.

10. We believe de-escalation training should be required to ensure the safety of community members and officers. We endorse using de-escalation tactics to reduce the potential for confrontations that endanger law enforcement officers and community members; and the principle that human life should be taken only as a last resort.

Along with the 10 Shared Principles the two groups have held a series of joint gatherings across the state involving leaders from law enforcement and communities of color who participated in World Café-style conversations on topics of mutual concern during sessions called “Let’s Talk”.

The ILACP and NAACP have committed to continuing the collaborative effort to publicize the adoption of this resolution throughout the state of Illinois. To view a full list of the agencies adopting the 10 Shared principles click here or visit https://www.ilchiefs.org/list-of-agenciesshared-principles .