Mount Prospect trustee candidates weigh in on possible new police patch
Since Mount Prospect decided in 2021 to remove the police patch with the controversial thin blue line, the police department has yet to replace it.
Supporters said the patch honored fallen officers, while others said that the imagery had been co-opted by extremist groups and that its use by police departments was intimidating to people of color.
During a recent candidate forum held at village hall, the four candidates vying for three 4-year seats on April 4 shared their views on a possible new patch.
Colleen Saccotelli, the only incumbent in the race, also talked about her vote against the patch in a straw poll at the Aug. 10, 2021, board meeting.
She called her vote "a hard decision" and said she recommended a "blue line patch instead of the patch that we had already, because the blue line patch addressed the ability to honor fallen officers, which is what the police department was looking to do, and it wasn't a controversial symbol, as the other patch was."
But Saccotelli pointed out the poll was taken because the village manager's office was looking for guidance from the board. Ultimately, she said, decisions about the patch should be left to the village manager's office and the police department.
Former Trustee Eleni Hatzis said she would allow the police department to decide on a new patch, as it did with the original patch.
Hatzis said she was on the board when the patch first was introduced, "and I heard nobody complain or say they were offended by it."
"We all liked it. And I continued to like it," she added. "I understand what it stood for. My father worked for the (Cook County) sheriff's police for 27 years, and he even felt, until a few weeks before he passed away, strongly about that patch."
Challenger and Elk Grove Township Trustee Vince Dante said he would want to hear all viewpoints and review designs and other considerations before making a decision. "If the decision should arise, I would be open to considering it," he added.
Former Trustee William Grossi said he "will support any patch that the police department chooses to wear, if they decide to display one."
"This is a police department matter. It is not a village board matter," he said.
But he felt it important to clarify there were people who stood before the village board and told trustees that any patch with a blue line was unacceptable.