LYONS – Former members of the Lyons Police Department who were recently laid off went door-to-door in the village over the weekend to talk with residents about the layoffs and to distribute signs supporting their position.
But by the end of Sunday, Lyons police had received more than 20 reports of the signs being stolen.
According to former Lyons Officer Jenn Mski, who worked for the village for three years, the laid-off officers, who were let go after contract negotiations between the village and the Fraternal Order of Police deteriorated in April, were attempting to present their argument to residents.
Last week, Lyons residents reported getting a flier in the mail from the village that presented the village's reasons for letting go nearly a third of the police department. Mski said the former officers just wanted to give residents their two cents and were also distributing yard signs residents could use to show their support.
"We just wanted to answer any questions residents had after [the April 23] board meeting and the letter," Mski said. "[The response from residents] was overwhelmingly supportive. Only a few didn't want a sign, but they still talked with us and asked questions."
On Saturday and Sunday, Mski and other laid-off officers went door-to-door and distributed about 250 signs, she said. On Sunday, Mski said she learned on the Facebook page Lyons Living that residents were reporting their signs had disappeared overnight and were requesting new ones.
Also on Sunday, the Lyons Police Department received more than 20 complaints that their signs had been taken, according to police reports.
Lyons resident and former Lyons Officer Ricky Brown, who worked for the village for 11 years, said when he awoke on Sunday, he found that all but one sign on his block – including his own yard sign – had been taken overnight. Brown said about 10 signs had been taken from his block alone.
Village Manager Tom Sheehan denied Wednesday that the village had anything to do with the removal of the signs and said that the village respects residents' decision to place them in their lawn.
"We didn't remove any signs at all," Sheehan said. "Our police department is working to find out who did."
Former officers who went door-to-door over the weekend reported seeing two village employees in the areas they were working. According to Mski, she saw Kyle Leonard, administrative aide to Village President Chris Getty, going to door-to-door in the 4500 block of Lawndale on Saturday as she headed in to meet up with the other former officers. According to Mski, a resident told them Leonard was distributing the village's flier about the layoffs to homes the former officers had also recently stopped by.
"They have the right to spread their word, just like we do, but it was weird," Mski said.
According to Sheehan, the village has issued no directives to any village employees to talk with residents about the police layoffs or to follow the former officers in the village. However, Sheehan said, village employees are free to exercise their freedom of speech when off duty.
"But I wasn't aware of any village employees doing that," Sheehan said.
Kyle Leonard declined to comment for this story.
The Fraternal Order of Police and former Lyons officers will hold a rally tonight at Village Hall, 4200 Lawndale Ave., tonight at 6 p.m. to continue to raise awareness about the layoffs before tonight's Board of Trustees meeting at 7 p.m.