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Local News

O’Dekirk announces Anti-Violence Task Force

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk on Friday announced an Anti-Violence Task Force in a news release that repeated criticism of the police department and outlined goals for the new panel.

The mayor named seven members of the task force and said he intends for it to meet monthly.

Members are:

• City Council member Pat Mudron.• Herb Lande, chairman of the Joliet Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.

• Terry D’Arcy, a Joliet car dealer.

• The Rev. Lonnie Posley, pastor of New Canaanland Church.

• The Rev. Bill Dewan, rector at Cathedral of St. Raymond’s and pastor of Sacred Heart Church.

• Carlos Matlock, a Joliet police detective.

• Jim Ryan, a Joliet firefighter.

O’Dekirk announced that he would create the task force at the Jan. 7 City Council meeting.

The news release refers to that announcement, repeating O’Dekirk’s characterization of the police department as being in “chaos.”

“Specifically, the mayor stated he intends the task force to focus on crime, the increasing number of homeless who have descended on Joliet, the unprecedented number of drug-induced overdoses and deaths, and the ongoing internal chaos and numerous scandals which have plagued the police department,” according to the release.

Several Joliet police officers have been dismissed, disciplined or arrested in public incidents in the past two years.

Most recently, officer Erin Zilka was charged with driving under the influence after a collision Jan. 19 in which the passenger in her vehicle, Berwyn police officer Charles Schauer, was killed.

According to the release, the mayor “intends for the group to meet once a month and to invite different individuals to address the group on the various issues being considered.”

O’Dekirk said in the release that “dozens of people” expressed interest in being part of the task force.

“I believe it is important to keep the group at a manageable size, but also truly appreciate the fact that so many people in our community want to be part of these solutions for our great city,” O’Dekirk said.

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