The Ekl Report: Long On Conclusions, Shorter On Facts


It’s here!  The anxiously-awaited “audit” of the Park Ridge Police Department – we’ll call it “The Ekl Report”[pdf] for its author, attorney Terry A. Ekl – has been released to the City Council and the public (although some City officials reportedly wanted a “private” sneak peek before its public release).

As predicted on this site on several prior occasions, it points an admonishing finger at former Police Chief Jeffrey Caudill for, in a nutshell, not having been as good a chief as he had been a detective, and as he is a person.  Beyond Caudill, the report is dominated by three main topics: The divisiveness in the department related to Cmdr. Lou Jogman; the Jayne Reardon arrest; and the problematic conduct of Officer Matthew McGannon.

Ekl begins his report with the warning that he “will not make findings of a factual nature unless [he has] been presented with credible, first-hand evidence of misconduct.” (Page 2)  That’s fine in concept, but the report ends up with – in our opinion – a lot of conclusions and recommendations that don’t seem to have findings of fact to back them up. 

The report states that Ekl and his staff interviewed “80 individuals” (Page 11), but  only 18 of 61(?) sworn officers (Page 10); and we can’t tell for sure how many residents beyond the 40 reported at Pages 6-7 were interviewed, or whether that 40 included all of the various City elected and appointed officials that were interviewed.  This would not seem to be the basis for much in the way of findings of fact or conclusions/recommendations.  Nevertheless, Ekl liberally salts his report with recommendations that would appear to go beyond the scope of his factual investigation and that require law enforcement and labor management expertise seemingly beyond Ekl’s credentials.

For example, the report states that “[t]here are many officers who are unhappy with the direction of the department” (Pages 14 and 24) without quantifying how many is “many” and without explaining what that “direction” is.  Similarly, Ekl reports of there being “a significant portion” (Page 4) and “a vocal portion” (Page 18) of the community that lacks confidence in the department, without even attempting to quantify how substantial a “portion” that is, or identifying the specific evidence supporting that conclusion.

A glaring omission of “fact” relates to the intrusion of elected officials into the day-to-day operations of the police department. (Pages 30-32)  Frankly, the lack of any identification of those officials smacks of a cover-up that has no justification if Ekl did, indeed, find evidence of such intrusion.

The last nine pages of the report contain Ekl’s “Recommendations,” many of which involve labor and employment matters – progressive discipline (Page 40), promotions (Page 41) – which implicate the police officers’ rights under their union contract and also involve management policy on which Ekl may not even be qualified to opine. 

We encourage you to read The Ekl Report with a critical eye toward what it says and what it doesn’t say; and then judge for yourself whether the Police Department, the City, and the taxpayers are well-served by it.