A Message from Chief Lalley and City Manager Rick Kozal: Final Recommendation on Officer-Involved Shooting
On September 4, 2019, Chief Ana Lalley and City Manager Rick Kozal issued joint statements pertaining to the officer-involved shooting on March 12, 2018.
These statements are below, and can also be accessed in the public folder that also includes a video of Chief Lalley's message and her final comprehensive report. All documents, videos and reports pertaining to the March 12, 2018 investigation are publicly available at cityofelgin.org/312.
Statement from Chief Ana Lalley
*This is a transcript of Chief Lalley's video statement, which can be viewed here.
Good evening, I am here to announce my final decision regarding the employment status of Lieutenant Jensen as it relates to the officer-involved shooting that occurred on March 12, 2018.
It has been 17 months since this tragic incident, and in that time, Lieutenant Jensen was cleared of any criminal charges by the Cook County States Attorneys Office and no policy violations were found related to use of force by the independent investigative firm Hillard Heintz.
While we could not comment on the status of these investigations while they were occurring, we did not shy away from the very important and needed conversations that our community wanted to have about this incident. This includedpersonal conversations with community members, members of the police department, members of the faith-based community, written correspondence in the forms of letters and e-mails, city council meetings, community conversations, question and answer sessions, and most recently, a listening session that was hosted by the police department.
In addition to listening to the many perspectives in the community, I have done an extensive review and initiated additional inquiries of the facts presented by the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force investigation, the administrative findings provided by Hillard Heintze, transcripts of all officers involved in the matter, body-worn and police vehicle camera footage, and the Police Department’s policies and procedures.
With these considerations in mind, I am recommending that Lieutenant Jensen is reinstated to full duty. I also understand concerns voiced by some in the community at various forums, and as such Lieutenant Jensen will work in an administrative capacity within the department at this time. I believe this course of action will allow Lieutenant Jensen to still add value to the Police Department, while giving the community the chance to move forward in the healing process alongside the department.
I have provided this recommendation to City Manager Kozal who is an agreement with my decision. A full report on my recommendation is available online, along with City Manager Kozal's statement.
This recommendation has been carefully considered, weighing the totality of circumstances and has taken time, and I have continually communicated that I will consider any and all information available to me when making this decision.
In the 16 months that the community waited for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s decision and the completion of the Hillard Heintze independent professional standards investigation, the Police Department has not stood still.
In the last year, we have made a concerted effort to both learn and grow from this tragic incident, and for this I am proud. Some examples include the creation of a new special unit called the Collaborative Crisis Services Unit or CCSU that is focused on better responding to people experiencing crisis, we hired several part-time social works to co-respond with CCSU and we have engaged with the Center for Policing Equity to do a comprehensive review of police department policies and procedures.
Complete details of what work has occurred and what’s ahead is available in the recommendation available online.
The decision to return Lieutenant Jensen to the Police Department to full duty marks the end of one chapter and start of the next.
It is my commitment to all in the community that the Police Department will continue to exemplify who we are. We are a department who listens, learns, thinks differently, innovates, and solves problems, and our work to be better is never done. This will be no different as we move forward.
It is our hope that our conversations and actions will continue to make our residents proud of the Elgin Police Department, and that we will continue to provide an environment that recruits the best and brightest talent to serve Elgin as a police officer.
I understand that this has been a lengthy process for all involved and appreciate the consideration afforded me to ensure a complete, accurate and thoughtful decision that considered all information. I also want to thank the members of the Police Department and community for their patience during this process.
The past seventeen months have been difficult for Ms. Clements’ family, Lieutenant Jensen and his family, the community and the members of the police department. I have valued and appreciated the respectful dialogue and continued engagement.This decision will provide closure for many and for many it will not, but it is imperative that the next steps we take together for the future continue with open communication, respect, and the commitment to work together for a better future.
Statement from City Manager Rick Kozal
Police Chief Ana Lalley has provided me with her recommendation for returning Lieutenant Christian Jensen to the police department and I wholly support her reasoning and decision.
The exceptionalism in which this city takes such deserved pride has been shaken.
The Clements family, the Elgin community and the city organization have collectively suffered from the tragedy that occurred on March 12, 2018. We cannot expect that pain to appreciably diminish by standing still.
We’ve witnessed other communities’ struggles in establishing the deep-seated trust the Elgin Police Department has earned from a generation of concerted effort in bonding with the people it serves. We have derived great satisfaction in benefiting from all the good that emanates from that mutual respect.
When confronted with an event that rarely—seemingly never—happens in Elgin, we are justifiably unsettled in learning “something that only happens someplace else” has somehow occurred in our own backyard. We reflexively assert and defend our respective viewpoints, and there is not always agreement on those sometime competing perspectives. But what distinguishes this community from others, what serves as the foundation of Elgin’s exceptionalism, is its unwavering resolve to gather together and work for a better future.
The diverse perspective, insight and guidance the Elgin City Council has provided to the community and city organization during the past 17 months have established the groundwork for the next phase of Elgin’s ongoing development as a singular community. The actions taken to heed community concerns and engage with the public to the greatest degree are unprecedented and demonstrate a continuing resolve to give voice to all segments of the community.
Now begins the time for the hard work of sitting down with others we don’t always agree with to find solutions to our common issues. That’s the ethos that has always set Elgin apart.