Prepared final remarks by President Mitchell R. Davis III, Chief of Hazel Crest PD

April 29, 2022
At the Annual Awards Banquet of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police
Northbrook, Illinois

"It has been such a tremendous blessing and honor to have served as the President of this great organization for the past year and I thank God for sustaining me."

President Davis gave his final remarks as ILACP president for 2021-2022 at the annual awards banquet held April 29 in Northbrook.  

Good evening. I want to thank the ILACP Board, the staff, and membership. I also want to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for you unwavering support and love. As I thought about what I wanted to say while speaking before you for the last time as President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, I realized that this past year has been filled with so many different things and it would be impossible to cover them all in the 45 minute time period that I was given. Just kidding! I will only be before you for a few moments.

It has been such a tremendous blessing and honor to have served as the President of this great organization for the past year and I thank God for sustaining me. This past year has been filled with challenges and it has been quite consuming, but I honestly believe that due to the dedicated efforts of many people that belong to our team we were able to make positive changes that will impact our profession and our communities in ways that have never been done before. Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this happen.

If you were at my installation dinner, you will remember that the theme of my speech was “What’s the Big Deal About Being the First Black President.” That theme outlined some of my views about being the 1st Black President in our organization’s 80-year history. I spoke about the importance of diversity and inclusivity and how having differing perspectives with a common goal is essential to equitable creation and development of systems and policies within our profession.

Another thing that I talked about was responsibility, and that is the topic in which I would like to use my last few minutes as President addressing. As many of you have heard me say, I lost my dad 2 years ago, but I am blessed to still have my mother here with me today. My sister, brother, and I were blessed with amazing, supportive parents that have always pushed us to reach our highest heights in life and to always be the best that we could be.

My father had a high school education. He got up at 2am to go to work driving a truck to pick up people’s laundry on the westside of Chicago for 35 years. Throughout the years I can remember that he would often have side jobs, like delivering pizzas and starting a lawn cutting business to supplement his income. Looking back on my childhood, I never knew that we were not wealthy. All that I knew was that I had a great life and never wanted for anything.

My dad was a great baseball player when he was young. He shared with me the story about how he had an opportunity to try out for the White Sox, but his job wouldn’t give him the day off. He was told that if he didn’t come to work that he would be fired. At the time, I had been born and my dad had to support his family, so he passed on the POSSIBILITY that MIGHT have changed the trajectory of his and his family’s lives and made the RESPONSIBLE choice of keeping his job that he needed to support his family.

I saw my parents sacrifice for the wellbeing of our family and for the sake of others throughout my life. The results of their selflessness can still be seen to this day through the countless people that love and respect them. My dad once reminded me that there are people that have never and will even meet me that are proud of the accomplishments that I have been blessed with. People who never had the opportunities that I have been afforded. He reminded me to never forget that the things that I am doing in life are much bigger than me.

It is here that I receive my sense of responsibility. I have the responsibility to seek to excel in all that I do for my elders that were denied opportunities because of the color of their skin. This was reenforced not too long ago when an older Black gentleman stopped me in the gas station in my town and told me that he saw me on TV and that he was proud of me. I also have the responsibility to speak out in the rooms that I am able to gain access to for those that feel that they are voiceless. I have the responsibility to be an example for those that look like me to show them that the things that I do are possible. I have a responsibility to be an example of how equitable, compassionate, and empathetic policing can be accomplished in all communities and how we should never settle for less.

I will close with this. One of the blessings that has bestowed upon me a few weeks ago was being flown to Minneapolis to be filmed for a documentary about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. As the director interviewed me on camera, she asked me to share information about myself. I shared with her the things that I do professionally and personally. She asked me to share with her some of the things that I have been most proud of in my personal and professional lives, and I shared some stories with her. Eventually, she asked me who I considered heroes in my life. I told her that my parents were, and I proceeded to share with her the story about my father that I just shared with you, but in more detail. After I finished the story, her response to me was, “That sounds like you!” It was almost like someone had grabbed me by my throat. I immediately got choked up and almost had stop the interview. I was finally able to gather myself, and I answered, “I could only hope so.”

This to me was just a reminder of my responsibility to do the things that I am blessed to do unapologetically and to the best of my abilities. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to do the Will of God in my life and to be a blessing to others.

It is with that in mind that I share with you tonight that in October of this year in Dallas, Texas at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference that it is my intent to announce my candidacy to run for office of that organization. I ask that you keep me in your prayers.

Thank you again for the honor of allowing me to lead this great organization! God bless you all!

About Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police  

Since 1941, ILACP has served as the professional development association for Chiefs of Police and other community leaders committed to public safety in Illinois. The statewide organization serves 1200 members working in more than 450 agencies, providing them with innovative services, training, and partnerships. ILACP advocates for legislation and policies that protect and improve police forces and the communities they serve.