Evergreen Park Chief Evoy
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Read More About Evergreen Park's Union History
Forgets His Union Roots
BAD MORALE MEANS BAD PRESS
EVERGREEN PARK Police Chief Thomas Evoy is a veteran street cop who
spent his entire career patrolling the tree-lined streets of his South Suburban
town, chasing the bad guys into either the next town or the big city, and
generally going along with whatever program happened to be in place at any
Even when he was an original union member in good standing, Evoy did not
do anything to either distinguish himself in service to his fellow cops,
nor was he known for creating problems on the job. In short, he was a guy
who garnered his promotions one after another by regularly showing up, smiling
and shaking hands in all the right places, and biding his time.
THEN, AFTER Mayor Anthony Vacco appointed Evoy Chief two years ago, the
real Napoleon of Kedzie Avenue came out.
Cops who had known and been cordial withif not close toEvoy
for decades, report that the once affable fellow worker and fellow union
member had suddenly become
Terrible Tommy, the Dictator of Detectives. Evoy, who had previously
known everyone in the Department and had always had a ready hello
for anyone, whether uniform or suit or village pol, now found himself becoming
more and more isolated.
In fact, one Evergreen Park patrol officer said he has not spoken to Evoy
outside the narrowest possible definition of police business
for the past two yearseven though the two have known each other for
a dozen years or more. To say the Evergreen Park Police Department has a
serious morale problem is to state the obvious.
AND THATS JUST what was stated in late May of this year. Three veteran
Evergreen Park cops, Detective Sergeant Dennis ODowd, Sergeant Fred
Kriel and Officer Mike Dwyer, discussed their Departments history
and morale problem with Combined Counties Police Association staff representative
Joseph Longmeyer, also an editor of the union newspaper.
About a week later, a roundup story on the history of the union experience
in Evergreen Park appeared, with specific reference to the morale problem
in that Department. (Read the story that started it all.)
The officers quoted made it very clear that there was a before Evoy
and after Evoy distinction, with labor relations and general
working conditions being lots better before. In fact, it was hoped that
by reporting on the morale problem in the union paper, which goes to about
18,000 law enforcement professionals throughout Illinois, that Chief Evoy
would be prompted to make some effort to open communications between himself
and the officers he supervises.
INSTEAD, EVOY saw the article, freaked out at the suggestion that there
could be anything lacking in morale in his department, consulted his hired
gun attorney and suspended the three officers who had the nerve to
speak to a representative of the union that Evergreen Park cops have belonged
to since 1969. In drafting his suspension order, Evoy cited the union rep
by name, accused the officers of conducting personal business on duty, charged
that they received visitors at the station for non-duty related purposes,
and said their conduct adversely effects the moral of the Department.
One Evergreen Park cop who saw the charges said the reason Evoy doesnt
think he has a morale problem in his Department is obvious. Its
because he doesnt know how to spell the word.
Another thing thats obvious is that no Chief of Police whose gun is
actually loadedwhose mind is functioning clearlywould ever dispute
the right of a union representative to speak to union members in a setting
where union people have been meeting with their members for the better part
of 30 years.
Also, because the suspensions Evoy levied are without pay, this act of raw
arrogance can cost ODowd, Kriel and Dwyer several thousand dollars
in real money. Because the officers have appealed the suspensions to the
Village Police and Fire Commissioners Board (with representation by the
CCPA legal staff) it is not a foregone conclusion that Evoys suspensions
will be upheld.
BUT NEVERTHELESS, this is the kind of foolish and childish abuse of
power that not just Suburban Chiefs, but Chicago Police Department brass
and police command personnel everywhere must be stopped from inflicting
on their subordinates, CCPA President John J. Flood said.
We had a similar case of abuse of authority by a Chief about six months
ago in Wheeling, Flood said, and now that Chief, Thomas Haeger,
will be leaving the Department in the next few weeks. We think its
no coincidence that the Wheeling Chief is leaving after we challenged him
over a ridiculous suspension problem that was just as mindlessly arrogant
as Evoys heavy-handed blunders in Evergreen Park, Flood said.
Haeger suspended two Wheeling cops for talking squad to squadwhich
is something police in virtually every jurisdiction in the country do on
a regular basis.
CHIEF EVOYS already precarious morale problems of last May were not
made any worse by the fact that they were reported on in the union newspaper
in June. But, when he over-reacted with his suspension strategy, whatever
remained of Evergreen Park police morale vanished like wadcutters at a training
Then, as if Evoy hadnt garnered enough bad press in the Illinois
Police and Sheriffs News, the Daily Southtown carried two
recent news articles and an editorial that made him look like some kind
of power-mad Palooka with a police badge.
Whats next for Chief Thomas Evoy? The Tribune? Time Magazine?
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