National Police Support Fund staff and volunteers contacted more than 27,000 voters in the Illinois communities of Aurora, Evanston, Oak Park, and Orland Park to encourage them to vote in municipal elections on April 6.
While local, off-year elections like this do not typically receive a lot of attention, there are important issues on the ballot that impact the role of police in these communities. Throughout the voting campaign, National Police Support Fund reminded residents to think about how vital local police departments are to their communities and to make safety and security top priorities when voting.
These efforts paid off in Oak Park, where nearly 70% of residents voted “no” on a referendum asking, “Shall the Village of Oak Park defund its Police Department?”
The Chicago Tribune reports that more than 9,700 responses to the question were recorded by the end of election night, with local residents speaking up in support of the village’s outstanding police department.
“Oak Park’s officers are trained in de-escalation techniques, which is likely one reason why no officer has even discharged a weapon on duty in the last decade,” Oak Park resident Monica Sheehan said. “The force already partners with Thrive Counseling Center to assist with calls that require a mental health professional, and officers receive training from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.”
Oak Park Village Trustee Dan Moroney proposed the referendum back in January and was pleased to see the results come overwhelmingly in favor of supporting police.
“I think it sends a strong message to our police department that the overwhelming percentage of residents support the work that they do in this community,” Moroney told Oak Park’s Wednesday Journal.
To learn more about National Police Support Fund’s voter awareness and organizing efforts, visit the Police Issues Action Center of Illinois.
Image Credit: Photo by Colin LLoyd on Unsplash
Maybe you were happy with the outcome of your state or local election, or maybe you weren’t. Either way, you can do your part to make sure elected officials fight for issues that matter to police officers and the people who support them. Here are a few ways to do that, from members of Congress to mayors, city council, and other local offices.