Statement of President James R. Black
In Response to the Death of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis
May 29, 2020

After watching the Minneapolis video depicting the senseless death of George Floyd, I was disgusted and saddened by what I observed. Now more than ever, the need for transparency in policing couldn’t be more evident. As police officers, we should be held to a high standard. As law enforcement leaders, it is our responsibility to hold officers accountable when violations of use of force occur. We have an obligation to provide proper training to our officers involving procedural justice, use of force, and de-escalation techniques. When incidents such as this occur, it stigmatizes our profession and erodes the trust built by the thousands of professional police officers who keep their communities safe daily. We must do a better job of collaborating with the citizens we serve.

When we become a police officer, we take an oath to treat all individuals with dignity and respect. One of the things I’m incredibly proud of is our Ten Shared Principles, which are designed to build trust between law enforcement and communities of color. These principles were adopted in 2018 by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois NAACP State Conference. We call them “shared principles” because our two associations mutually and deeply believe in the words themselves and the values underlying these principles. It is the first document of its kind in the United States between a statewide civil rights organization and a statewide law enforcement association. This document embodies everything we as police stand for: treating everyone with dignity and respect, rejecting discrimination, building trust and strong relationships within our communities, endorsing the values of community policing, and supporting diversity within our organizations.

As law enforcement leaders we must have the courage to denounce actions that tear at the very core of these principles, and we must muster the courage to continue to build trust and a collaborative partnership with our communities.

James R. Black, Chief of Police in Crystal Lake, Illinois, is president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.