Members of Robbins Police Department return to work after officers resign, call off in protest

Mayor of Robbins, IL, Darren Bryant, has only been on job 6 months; members of Cook County Sheriff's Office helping village

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Village of Robbins police officers return to work after protest
Robbins police officers were back on the job Tuesday after an agreement was made with the village.

ROBBINS, Ill. (WLS) -- Some Robbins police officers returned to work Tuesday morning. They reached a deal with the city after a protest over low pay and a lack of resources.

One officer could be seen in-uniform, loading up his squad car and hitting the streets Tuesday.

According to police union officials in Robbins, officers would be back on the job starting at 7 a.m.

The union said a total of two officers were on patrol Tuesday morning, with more to follow in the coming shifts.

Rodney Hunter is a former Robbins police officer.

"I think they made good on their agreement to return back to work, but when I worked here we were short then and they're probably short now," Hunter said.

The small police force is made up of fewer than 20.

Over the weekend, more than a dozen officers on Robbins' already small police force resigned or called off work for the foreseeable future, citing overstaffing, safety and pay issues since their contract expired in April 2020.

Cook County Sheriff's deputies have been stepping in to patrol since Friday. But, as of Tuesday morning, they are no longer helping out.

According to the union, the village has never sat down with them to negotiate a new contract -- until the recent media attention.

"If you put somebody's nose to the grindstone, you'll find the money and the things that these officers need. We just need to do it," said Richard Blass, with the Illinois Council of Police.

Meanwhile, the union said a tentative agreement has been reached via a 20-minute impromptu meeting with the mayor Monday.

SEE MORE: Village of Robbins officers 'fed up' over lack of resources, low pay and safety concerns: union

Union representatives and village officials are scheduled to meet Wednesday morning via Zoom to further hammer out a deal.

"I am hopeful that we can sit down and come to an agreement as far as working conditions, wages and terms and conditions of employment," Blass said.

Officers were also asking for bulletproof vests since theirs had expired.

On Monday, there was an agreement to buy them new ones.

"We got the vests. I'd like to see equipment changes. I'd like to see more salary. I've got the scale here; I think it's $11.50 an hour, and you're asking guys to take on a lot of responsibility for that kind of dough," Blass said.

Mayor Darren Bryant, who took office only six months ago, said in a news conference Monday that he wants to find solutions to any problems.

"I do respect the service that you all do. It takes a special individual to come in here and work on behalf of Robbins," he said.

A new police chief will also be sworn in Tuesday night, and the union said they will approach him with an open mind.