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City responds to questions about police department

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In response to concerns raised on social media by Elginites about the status of the Elgin Police Department after the assistant chief was let go, the city released a status report for EPD last week.

The entire report from city manager Thomas Mattis can be found online at www.elgintx.com/civicalerts.aspx.

The report says that EPD has consistently experienced relatively high turnover in personnel, but the turnover rate has been consistent through recent years. Since 2016, a total of 21 officers have left EPD for a variety of reasons; nine left in 2016 or 2017, and 13 have left since the beginning of 2018, which was when Patrick South became the police chief at EPD. Of those 13, two were unable to complete their probationary period and one retired due to medical reasons.

According to the report, several officers who voluntarily separated from EPD before 2018 consistently cited low pay as a reason for leaving, but since 2018, no officer has cited low pay as their reason for leaving.

All city employees are able to appeal decisions or file grievances about personnel action. Since 2018, only one officer who has left EPD appealed their termination, the report said.

Most recently, assistant police chief and long-time employee Phillip Taylor was terminated from his employment with EPD on June 12, according to the report. 

“The City Council acknowledges and accepts the decisions made by the Chief of Police and City Manager in this regard, and no City Councilmember has expressed disagreement with the decisions made by city staff as it relates to Mr. Taylor’s termination,” the report says.

“The City Manager and Chief of Police are—and have been—open to reasonable dialogue with any and all Elgin citizens or taxpayers regarding any issue related to the EPD,” Mattis’ report concludes. “Given the times in which we now live, we are especially cognizant of creating and maintaining an appropriate and responsive relationship between the City of Elgin Police Department and our citizenry.”