Chicago Police Dispatcher Keith Thornton Jr’s Resignation Announcement

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Keith A. Thornton, Jr (SOURCE: Facebook)
Keith A. Thornton, Jr (SOURCE: Facebook).

One of two important resignation announcements in Cook County this week — the last week of July 2022 (the other announcement is a resignation letter from Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Murphy). Here is the announcement from Chicago Police Communications Operator II Keith A. Thornton Jr., who was credited on August 7, 2022 with the tremendous efforts and professionalism in his work on the radio when Chicago Police Officer Ella French was killed during a traffic stop.

“It is with a very bittersweet heart that I formally notify you of my resignation from the City of Chicago as a Police Communications Operator II at the Office of Emergency Management Communications (OEMC) Center. I have decided to further my public safety career by accepting a higher position in emergency management elsewhere.

I started this job on April 16, 2018 with the intent to make a positive impact on the lives of wonderful citizens of Chicago during their times of crisis and need.

The job of a Police Communications Operator allows us to help thousands of Chicagoans; including, but not limited to: victims in need of emergency assistance, police officers calling for help, coworkers in need of support, and other first responders and colleagues who sometimes just need a simple helping hand. I took this job for these main reasons and I feel very honored and humbled being able to state that I have experienced all this and more.

I will miss this particular job because I love serving my city and I’ve loved working alongside some of the hardest working colleagues one could ever imagine. But, I’ve promised myself that I’d never continue working for an establishment if their priority was not 100% for the people in which it serves. That’s the case here.

Having citizens beg for police to respond to their emergencies after calling numerous times over and over again with NO RESPONSE is a big problem. An even bigger problem is management requiring it’s employees to tell citizens a bunch of fluff as opposed to the truth: help won’t be there for a while and it might not be coming at all.

There are literally more than a dozen districts or more within this city who have backlogs that are pages and pages long. Now that the public is catching on to all of this by listening to scanners to see what’s truly taking place within their neighborhoods, the city is all of a sudden encrypting CPD Zone’s (one by one) so that citizens aren’t kept up to speed of the truth.

Beyond this, the mental health and family-life of many of my colleagues have taken a drastic downward turn for the worse with little to no backing and/or understanding from management. Even after being part of the OEMC Morale Committee, I learned that the well-being of employees at OEMC are not in the best interest of the managerial staff at this agency.

It has been difficult to see and deal with the decline in mental health and morale on this job. For instance, just a few weeks ago, a colleague of mine attempted suicide right within the very parking lot of our establishment. It fell on deaf ears, was covered up by upper management almost instantly, and the employee was expected to be back at work shortly afterward with no required time off to seek appropriate help and counseling that should be offered to everyone within our profession.

The tone is set at the top, and under this current administration we have a NEGLIGENT organizational structure, supervisory and managerial staff, and overall internal dysfunction along with massive coverup and corruption at the OEMC. Employees have reported blatant racism, threats, discrimination, sexual misconduct, favoritism, and even mental health crisis to the proper chains of command – it’s all swept under the rug and the employees who are often times the victims, are simply left out to dry.

Employee wellness is simply not a priority here in Chicago. Similar to that of The Chicago Police Department and The Chicago Fire Department, there will be many more fantastic workers leaving right behind me because we are simply tired. Emotionally and physically, we are tired.

Nonetheless, I want to thank the City of Chicago for the opportunities and experiences that were provided to me during my time with this agency and I wish OEMC the very best.

To the Citizens of Chicago, I can promise you this: I will continue working hard to bring more opportunities and justice to our neighborhoods.

To the Chicago 9-1-1 Calltakers/Dispatchers, Police Officers, Firefighters, and Paramedics; I will continue to have your backs for all of the great work that you will continue to do.

May you all be blessed and never lose sight of YOUR value and worth. I love you all.”

Keith A. Thornton Jr
July 29, 2022 12:55 PM

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