Deputy chief against cuts to police

On June 30, I will retire as deputy chief of police of the Brookfield Police Department. My decision to retire was made in late 2009 after the village presented me with the option or either retiring or being demoted to my previous rank of lieutenant, as a cost-cutting measure.

Granted, while many people in the public and private sectors have recently endured salary cuts, and mine would have equaled approximately $10,000 annually, I simply could not bear the indignity of being the first officer in the history of the Brookfield Police Department to be demoted.

My purpose in writing is not to complain or sling mud, rather it is to thank Landmark readers, residents and co-workers for their support over the last seven months. Scores of people have either spoken to me in person, phoned or voiced their support online in forums such as the Landmark.

Personally, I see my premature retirement as a bend in the road, not the end of the road, but my concern is there may be challenges ahead for the police department to which I have dedicated the last 26.5 years.

Hopefully, we are emerging from the economic woes of 2009, a year in which two excellent dispatchers were laid off. The truth is that laying off these dispatchers has resulted in police officers handling dispatcher duty for about 63 hours each week. While it is true that minimum staffing has not been reduced, it is only common sense that five officers can do more than four officers.

With my departure, four police officers have resigned or retired without being replaced. These six vacant positions were not fluff, and the end result is a loss in quality of service the police department renders.

As a resident of Brookfield, I am against these reductions and any further reductions to either the police of fire departments, and I know many other residents feel the same way. The dedicated men and women of Brookfield Police department deserve our support.

Jeff Leh

Enough is enough in Brookfield

As a concerned resident of Brookfield for the past seven years, I have followed the village’s political and financial situation closely. I was both shocked and appalled when I opened the letter for my village vehicle sticker recently to find it went up from $25 to $40. That over a 60-percent increase from last year. What is the village doing with this money that they have to increase it by that much in these tough times?

That’s only part of it. Who is paying for the postage and return envelope? We the people are, that’s who, and we can’t even pay in person. We have to mail it or put it in a box at the village hall. What kind of faceless government do we have in Brookfield? Enough is enough! I for one have had it with the ongoing problems and want action.

Doug Tremper

Disappointed in sentence for hitting cyclists

I am on Oak Park resident, an attorney and a cyclist. I am disappointed at the sentence proposed by Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Pattarozzi and given by Judge Kipperman to Armando Reza and Erik Fabian. They were both recently convicted of intentionally running down cyclists with a car while intoxicated in Brookfield in 2009. One was sentenced to 10 days in jail. The other received no jail time.

I was out riding that morning in Brookfield and could have been one of their victims. In fact, there were approximately 30 cyclists from our Oak Park cycling group riding through Brookfield at that time. Had these two young men not been caught by the police, the result could have been a major calamity. And it is not the first time an incident like this has occurred in Riverside and Brookfield.

As more and more people take up cycling and are sharing the road with drivers, your offices need to take more seriously intentional attempts to harm cyclists. You also need to send a message that behavior like this will not be tolerated. That is not the message sent by these light sentences.

Reza pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and driving under the influence of alcohol, yet his plea agreement amounted to 10 days in jail, two years of probation and counseling. Fabian also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident. He was sentenced to no jail time, and two years of probation.

To date, many municipal police forces, state’s attorneys and judges are not taking crimes against cyclists seriously. In this case, you missed an opportunity to send a message about driver and cyclist safety. I hope this changes in the future.

Jack J. Crowe
Oak Park

Ed note: Jack Crowe wrote this letter to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. He is also a regular columnist for the Landmark’s sister newspaper, Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest.