Since the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody last month, police departments across the U.S. have come under much scrutiny.
McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett earlier this month expressed on Facebook how “the country went from ‘back the blue’ to ‘F the police’ all due to a very small percentage of officers who are just bad people.”
“I find it disgusting that several mayors in large cities are playing political games by throwing their police departments under the bus when ultimately the system they have wasn’t working under their very own leadership,” he said.
In an effort to show support for local police departments and give back to the community, Jett announced on June 18 on Facebook he is offering yard signs for McHenry residents. Since then, more than 300 yard signs have been sold.
“It’s time for the people that have been quiet to speak up and show our police officers respect and support. I challenge all of McHenry County to speak up for our police officers and thank them for their service and dedication to keeping us all safe. What’s happening in our Country doesn’t represent who WE are in McHenry County,” he wrote.
For Jett, the McHenry Police Department is more than just a police department.
“I am amazed and appreciative that in a time where many people in this country are turning their backs on the police, our local department has stood un-wavered in their mission to support our constitutional rights, welcome the partnership for future change and serve McHenry free of abuse, discrimination or prejudice,” he said.
In a Facebook post, Jett said he and McHenry Chief of Police John Birk agreed the best way to show support for the police is to support minority residents.
Although there is no cost for the yard sign, Jett requested a $5 donation toward the Youth and Family Center of McHenry County, a countywide nonprofit organization founded in McHenry that provides services to minority residents and low income families.
Throughout his effort to show the local police department support, Jett also was accused of not wanting to support the McHenry Black Lives Matter protest in Veterans Memorial Park on June 1, he wrote on his Facebook page Sunday.
“There has been several false accusations about me not wanting to support the local protest in McHenry which is far from the truth,” Jett said. “The protest organizer contacted us 5 hours prior to the protest and I made sure to meet her at Veterans Park and make sure there wasn’t anything else she needed. Unfortunately I had another obligation running a council meeting that evening.”
Jett took the past 24 hours, he said, to educate himself about police brutality by “even calling my business partner who is African American to discuss the fact that black lives are getting taken at such an alarming rate by those that are supposed to protect us each and every day.”
“I want to first apologize for not educating myself regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and not taking a step back in my crazy busy schedule to reflect on these issues,” he said.
He said that showing support for only the McHenry PD and not Black Lives Matter wasn’t his intention.
Jett announced he now is offering Black Lives Matter signs which will be available for pick up by next Thursday. He also is requesting a $5 donation that will go toward a Black Lives Matter organization.
Signs can be picked up at Jett’s Heating & Air, located at 1306 N. Green St., McHenry, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.