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Ill. police department unveils Juneteenth-themed squad car

Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross said he hopes the vehicle will serve as a community engagement tool


Aurora Police Department

By Megan Jones
The Beacon-News, Aurora, Ill.

AURORA, Ill. —The Aurora Police Department, in conjunction with the city’s African American Heritage Advisory Board, unveiled a special custom-wrapped squad car Wednesday in honor of Juneteenth.

Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross said he hopes the vehicle will serve as a community engagement tool.

“Not only will it spark interest and conversation between our officers and members of the community, but also highlight our efforts to embrace and highlight various cultures,” Cross said.

Mayor Richard Irvin said Aurora Police Officer William Whitfield and other Black officers brought the idea for the car to the city as a way to educate and unite residents through conversations over the Juneteenth holiday.

“I did not hesitate to approve it,” Irvin said. “This is not a solution to easily fix a generations-old problem, but it’s a good step to keep us moving in the right direction.”

Whitfield said he hopes the design helps break a barrier between the Black community and police officers.

The wrap was designed and paid for by the advisory board and will be on the car for the next two weeks, Cross said.

The car will be featured in a Juneteenth Car Parade hosted by the Community Advocacy Awareness Network with a lineup starting at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the Phillips Park entrance on Smith Street in Aurora. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office has provided traffic control for the event for the past three years.

The parade will begin at 3:15 p.m. and will travel from Smith Street to Fifth Avenue, then to Farnsworth Avenue and to Grand Boulevard before ending at Martin Luther King Park, 42 N. Farnsworth Ave., for the city’s Juneteenth celebration. The celebration in the park will go until 7 p.m.

Aurora Chief Communications and Equity Officer Clayton Muhammad said the police car design is a wonderful movement in the right direction.

“It is a statement of what happened here in this nation and how to are attempting to right wrongs and rectify and balance and level the playing field,” Muhammad said.

“We know challenges lie ahead of us as we continue,” Whitfield said. “We are prepared to continue fighting to bring equality and diversity to our community.”


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