From the Association’s web site:
Black sworn in as 72nd ILACP President,
along with Board of Officers for 2020-2021
Crystal Lake Chief James R. Black was sworn in at 12:06 p.m. Friday, May 1, by Judge Justin Hansen, to become the 72nd President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
He and the other eight members of the Board of Officers were sworn in at a small ceremony in the Crystal Lake City Hall due to the coronavirus crisis. Two of the board members participated remotely.
. Black announced three goals for his presidency:
1. Robust legislative advocacy
2. Advance actionable items with Ten Shared Principles with NAACP
3. Enhance efforts to promote officer wellness
His six minute acceptance speech follows:
The text follows:
CRYSTAL LAKE, Illinois — Greetings, everyone.
To say that the start of my presidency has been interesting would be an understatement.
I had prepared remarks several months in advance for our banquet and installation of officers to include thanking my wife and my family, along with my mayor and city manager for their support.
Those remarks I will save for another day.
As law enforcement leaders, we have all managed and lead during a crisis over our careers in some form or another.
Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think we would be policing during a global pandemic.
In the blink of an eye we went from fighting crime to fighting our lawmakers over recreational cannabis use to fighting an invisible enemy.
For this, I can’t thank the men and women on the front lines enough for their courage and perseverance during these troubled times.
I am humbled and honored to become the 72nd president of the Association and I promise our membership that we, as a Board, will do everything to meet your expectations.
We will continue to face challenges in our profession, both on a state and federal level during 2020 and 2021.
After being involved with this Board for the last 4 years, rest assured that we do not take legislative decisions lightly.
We will do our best to continue to fight obstacles that our profession will face.
During my year as president, I would like the Association to focus on three items.
Before I outline my objectives, I want to thank our Executive Director, Ed Wojcicki and the ILACP staff, for their work.
I think that I may be the first incoming president to not include the financial sustainability of the association as a goal.
However, due to the economic downturn, this does not mean that the Association will not face some financial obstacles.
I am certain that our Executive Director, the ILACP staff, and our Finance Committee will put a sound plan in place to navigate issues that will face the Association.
My first objective or goal for the Association is to continue with our legislative advocacy.
Marc Maton and our Legislative Committee have worked tirelessly over the last several legislative sessions.
They have literally reviewed well over one thousand pieces of law enforcement legislation and provided the Board of Officers with much-needed insight to determine our stance on various pieces of legislation.
I appreciate the work that Marc and this Committee has done, but unfortunately, our work is not complete and we always seem to be on the defensive side of the reviews, based on the sheer volume of law enforcement-related bills that are presented during each legislative session.
will continue to work with the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, the Illinois FOP, and the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association to combat legislation that will negatively impact our profession, our officers, and our communities.
Next, my predecessors and this Board have worked hard in developing a relationship with the NAACP.
As a result of this hard work, the ILACP and NAACP have developed the first-ever 10 Shared Principles document.
These principles were collaboratively developed by both associations and designed to build trust between the police and communities of color.
It is the first-ever document of this nature designed and implemented in the United States.
But this is just the beginning.
If we don’t take actionable steps forward in continuing to build trust with citizens of all colors, this document means nothing.
Depending on how long our shelter in place and social distancing mandates stay in effect, this may be challenging for us since our ability to meet face to face may be limited.
But I am confident that we can work together to enhance these Principles.
My last objective for the Association is to enhance our efforts in addressing officer wellness.
According to Blue Help.org, we lost 228 officers to suicide in 2019 across the United States.
That number is staggering.
As a profession, we need to break down the macho stereotype about asking for help and seeking guidance.
The “We Never Walk Alone” online peer support program is one step.
The opening of St. Michaels House at Holy Family Hospital in Des Plaines last year is another step in the right direction, and these two address counseling needs, peer support advocacy, and substance abuse.
I think we can do more, and I believe our officers and their families deserve more.
As a profession, we need to do a better job of taking care of the people that take care of our communities.
I am going to be tasking our Officer Wellness Committee to develop initiatives and to provide training to our membership in an effort to hopefully help reduce these statistics and to provide much-needed assistance to officers who may be struggling.
In closing, I want to thank you for entrusting me to this position.
As a member of the Board of Officers for the last 4 years, I have learned a lot from our Past Presidents and I am excited about what the future may hold for the Association and our profession.
In my opinion, the police profession is both honorable and noble.
We hear this a lot, but what does it mean to you?
Nobility has been defined as greatness of character and high ethical qualities or ideals that serve a cause greater than yourself; or a faithfulness to a higher calling or purpose.
President Calvin Coolidge once stated,
“No one is compelled to choose the profession of a police officer; but having chosen it, everyone is obligated to perform its duties and live up to the high standards of its requirements.”
Whether we chose this profession or we were called to it, we have an obligation to live up to its high standards.
It is unknown when will get back to normal or whatever the new normal will be as a result of COVID 19 and its effects on our cities, our economy, and our officers.
Whatever that new normal may be, remember to take care of yourselves, take care of your family, take care of your officers, and take care of your communities.