Public Watchdog.org

The Ekl Report: Long On Conclusions, Shorter On Facts

08.20.08

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.

7 comments so far

There is so much to say about the police report, but let’s focus on two for now.

1. The report fails to specifically name the elected officials who are interfering in police matters because it is Howard, Howard and more Howard. I’d be willing to bet he is on the phone with them everyday trying to get his friends treated more “fairly”. Do you really think Napleton and Adriani are the only Friends of Frimark?

2. Page 12: “4. There is no evidence that the department is lacking in resources.” And we need a new police station because?

I learned only one thing from this report. The police department’s problems didn’t all retire, like alderman Alligreti said they did.

Hey, Mayor Howard! Yo, aldermen! Is this all we get for our seventy grand?

We don’t even get to find out which of you yahoos are trying to play Chicago-style clout games with the coppers?

Jayne Reardon’s totally botched arrest is just a “mistake in judgement”?????? Why isn’t there anything in the report about how she said she wouldn’t submit to being eyeballed by a witness but then these bozos had it done secretly while she was at the station?

Mistake my butt.

I have heard several stories of citizens attempting to make complaints and the police refusing to take the complaints. Some of these people told me that they reported this to Ekl. Why is there no mention of that in the report?

What a bunch of horseshit.

What is the all-in price on the report?

Regardless, it is not worth the starting $75k, much less any more than that.

Wondering, you’ve got it all wrong man. 

After reading all four – FOUR! – stories in today’s Advocate about the police audit, Ekl’s report was a bargain for $75 grand.  Granted, he didn’t really find out too many real “facts,” but what do you expect when (as PublicWatchdog pointed out) only 18 of 61 current officers and only about 60 other residents or officials out of 37,000 were interviewed?

But just look at all the really neat recommendations about changing the promotion procedures, changing disciplinary procedures, adopting a “zero tolerance” policy for Cmdr. Jogman, and even stating a new public policy on elected officials running their police-related issues through the City Manager. Had I known when Ekl was being given the job that he had so much municipal government, employment, policing and management expertise to make these recommendations, I wouldn’t have thought that he was being hired just because he was the cheapest or somebody’s buddy.

Oh, wait a minute. He was the cheapest. And if Park Ridge Underground got it right about Monday night’s Council meeting, it sounds like Ekl may be ALd. Allegretti’s buddy (or the buddy of Allegretti’s office mate, atty. Frank DiFranco?)

Thank you Watchdog for your work on this. I read the report and I do understand how some can be disappointed that there aren’t more details. I agree that mixer inner public officials should mix out!

I do have to say that I feel there is some value in this report. It seems clear to me that the vast majority of our officers are good people who keep their noses as clean as they can and do their jobs the best they can. Nobody is perfect, but most of our police officers aren’t screwing up much.

With all the rumors and accusations flying around the community about an “out of control” police department, this report seems to put those rumors and accusations to rest.

Maybe clearing away all the muck and getting back on track and addressing any real deficiencies with our police department is worth the money and time this report cost.

I just wanted to offer that point of view too.



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