Maywood police have the manpower and resources to provide rides to the airport for elected officials and bodyguard details for the mayor. But when it comes to getting a detective to investigate a violent robbery, one woman says that’s apparently asking too much.
Sharon asked us not to use her last name in order to protect her son’s identity. She was furious after watching a recent Better Government Association/FOX Chicago News investigation into the questionable use of police resources in Maywood, a western suburb suffering a spike in homicides.
“I couldn’t believe that taxpayers were paying for a chauffeur from the police department. I felt it was just egregious.”
For Sharon, it’s personal. Her 14-year-old son was beaten and robbed in a Maywood alley last November as he walked home from school. Sharon drove him to the Maywood police station to report the crime, but says the officer at the station’s public window was nonplussed.
“She told me the staff, the detectives, they were short and that my crime was a waste of manpower,” Sharon said. “They [told me] they had other crimes that were more pressing.”
After pressing the issue, Sharon said the officer told her a detective would be in touch. But after waiting a month, she grew impatient and went back to the police station. Again she was told a detective would contact her, and again no one called. Even a visit to the office of Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarbrough brought no response, she said.
“Well, after seeing your story, I guess they’re busy chauffeuring trustees around,” Sharon said.
Last month FOX Chicago News and the BGA showed undercover video of Maywood Trustee Audrey Jaycox being picked up at Midway Airport by an on-duty Maywood police officer carrying a gun. The officer loaded Jaycox’s luggage into a municipal car and drove her to her home in Maywood.
Jaycox said she asked for the police escort because she was returning from a business trip related to the Village of Maywood. “From a financial standpoint, it’s easier to have [the police] just take me, drop me off, pick me up, in lieu of me taking my car,” Jaycox said. “That’s what we’ve always done when [we] go out on official business.”
Maywood police are also sometimes assigned to escort Yarbrough when he makes trips throughout the village, including two officers who recently accompanied Yarbrough to a wreath-laying ceremony for World War II veterans.
Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry initially defended the use of the officers, which he said are provided as a courtesy to public officials. “Those resources aren’t taking away from what we need [to fight crime.] Those resources are set aside.”
But Curry later indicated he was rethinking the practice of assigning officers to drive around trustees. And Yarbrough indicated that he might swear off the police bodyguards.
As for Sharon, she hopes she never again has to call Maywood police to report an attack on her son. But she may call for another reason.
“If I need a ride to the airport I’ll go to the police department,” she said.
This article was written and reported by Robert Herguth, the BGA’s editor of investigations, and Dane Placko of FOX Chicago News. To contact them, call (312) 821-9030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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