Board of Fire and Police Commissioners
The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners consists of three Commissioners appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council. The Board is responsible for the certification, discipline, demotion, and termination of individuals holding specific positions within the Departments of Police and Fire. The Police Department specific positions include Police Officer and Police Sergeant. The Fire Department specific positions include Firefighter, Firefighter EMT I & II, and Fire Lieutenant EMT I & II. The Board’s governing Rules and Regulations are available on the City’s website.
Human Relations Advisory Group
The Human Relations Advisory Group is composed of adult and student volunteers who work together with a City Council liaison and City staff to support community programs for improving the quality of life in the City of Highland Park. They provide advisory recommendations regarding solutions to social problems and opportunities related to equality and social justice. All are welcome to attend meetings. Residents seeking increased engagement on these topics are invited to apply to join the group, which meets on a quarterly basis.
Commitment to Fair & Equitable Policing
21st Century Policing
The City of Highland Park endorses the six pillars of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, established in 2014 by President Obama. The Task Force identified best practices and made recommendations to assist law enforcement in developing practices for promoting effective crime reduction while building public trust, particularly amongst communities of color. The Task Force included individuals from a wide variety of sectors. The six pillars are:
- Building Trust and Legitimacy
- Policy and Oversight
- Technology and Social Media
- Community Policing and Crime Reduction
- Training and Education
- Officer Wellness and Safety
The Highland Park Police Department is committed to engaging with these pillars through numerous initiatives each year. The Police Department has increased community engagement events, pursued additional training, and invested in community-based policing. Information about department projects is available on the City’s website under the Community Engagement tab.
Police Department Policies & Handbook
The Department’s approximately 140 policies will be posted to the City’s web site in August, and this section will be updated with a link once it is live.
Fire Department Core Values
The Highland Park Fire Department’s seven core values are: service, dedication, respect, teamwork, professionalism, pride and direction. Each member of the Department commits to abide by these values and to serve the community with honesty, integrity, understanding and compassion.
Ethics Guidelines (2015)
The City’s Ethics Guidelines establish ethical standards of conduct for all City officials. The Ethics Guidelines address conflicts of interest, disclosure and recusal requirements, abuse of power, confidentiality, and other relevant topics.
Shared Principles of Public Safety
Shared Principles of Public Safety (Adopted 2018)
The Shared Principles represent a collaboration between the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois NAACP State Conference to identify ways to build trust and common ground between police and diverse communities. The principles underscore the values that guide the Police Department’s work, including a commitment to the four pillars of procedural justice, the six pillars of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and community policing initiatives. All Highland Park Police Officers have committed to these principles:
- We value the life of every person and consider life to be the highest value.
- We treat every person with dignity and respect. This is another foundational value.
- We reject discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, color, nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or familial status towards any person.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We develop strong ongoing relationships between law enforcement and communities of color at the leadership level and street level to diminish and eliminate racial tension.
- We encourage all citizens to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the law to assist them in their interactions with law enforcement officers.
- We support diversity in police departments and in the law enforcement profession and make a concerted effort to recruit a diverse pool of candidates for job opportunities within the City.
- We endorse using de-escalation training and tactics to reduce the potential for confrontations that endanger law enforcement officers and community members; human life should be taken only as a last resort.