A vote of no confidence issued by the Maywood Chapter of the Illinois Council of Police Union (ICOPS) against Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley has been obtained by this publication. The letter dates back to Aug. 31, 2015 and is addressed to Maywood’s village manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. According to a source, the vote was backed by a large majority of the department’s rank and file officers.
The letter claims that, since Talley’s appointment in 2013, “the department has progressively deteriorated in terms of morale and direction” and that the union has “repeatedly tried to work with Chief Talley without success.”
“The lack of leadership, mismanagement, and poor policy decisions has damaged the relationship between the Maywood Chapter of the Illinois Council of Police and members of the department, which is not repairable under Chief Talley’s leadership,” the letter states.
The letter also claims that, under Talley, the department has not had a strategy “to combat the rising violence” in the village; that the chief has “continuously tried to distance himself from the rank and file of the department;” and that he “tries to give the public the perception of tremendous change in the department.”
“I disagree with that,” said Talley in a recent phone interview. “I think that I have a very cooperative relationship with ICOPS and I take their advise.”
Talley said he doesn’t know who the officers are who signed off on the vote of no confidence, adding that they presented the document anonymously.
“If there is something I have to talk about, I talk about it directly,” he said. “I sign my name to all my actions.”
Talley said he has an open door policy both for officers and for union officials, noting that he’s worked with ICOPS attorney Richard Blass and ICOPS staff representative Richard Bruno in the past.
Talley conceded that the department has been under stress due to the number of patrol officers who are out.
“In my first year, I reduced overtime, but this year, overtime is running heavier than normal, because we had 13 officers out due to sickness and injuries. That’s put hardship on all the staff. We’re supposed to have 54 patrol officers, according to our ordinance. I have 37,” he said.
Talley said that some of the officers who voted no confidence could have been ones who were passed over for promotions. He said the officers he has slated for promotion all “took the time and effort to study” and “take the test” required by regulations governing the board of police and fire commissioners.
“They passed. Why shouldn’t they be entitled to promotion if they’ve taken the steps,” he said. “I stand by those recommendations. The officers who crafted that letter had the same opportunities and an equal chance at promotion. If they had [taken the appropriate steps] I would’ve made the recommendations for them.”
Talley also cited his decision to utilize Det. Larry Connor to write grants, a move Talley said has netted the village $1.3 million in funds, among them a $93,000 Dep. of Justice grant that will allow the department to purchase three new squad cars.
Talley said the department’s evidence room has been audited and inspected by outside agencies, such as the Illinois State Police and the Cook County Sheriff’s department. He also noted that the department is on the path to earning national accreditation.
“The mission of the department hasn’t changed,” Talley said. “It’s the same mission we’ve had since 2006. It’s in our policy. It spells out very succinctly what it is we’re to do and that’s to protect the citizens in the Village of Maywood.”
Talley said he has submitted documents containing his multi-year plans for the department to Norfleet “so he’ll have enough information to know whether or not those allegations are true or contrived.”
“My responsibilities will always remain with growth and personal development of officers and protection of the citizens,” he said.
“I live here, this is my community, and I want to make it safe. I’d only hope that the officers, even those who may have crafted that letter, just look at the steps and progress with open minds and see that the direction of the village is moving toward one of progress and improved public safety.”
Norfleet, village board members and ICOPS representatives weren’t immediately available for comment. This article will be updated when if, and when, they respond. VFP
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