KANKAKEE — In the long history of the Kankakee Police Department there only have been four black lieutenants.
Michael Sneed is now among the few who have achieved the rank, but the unrest that coincided with his promotion did not go unnoticed Monday night.
A native of Hopkins Park and a 1989 graduate of St. Anne Community High School, Sneed, 47, tried to take the unusual evening in stride but admitted to feeling some disappointment.
After a give and take between the Kankakee Police Department’s Fraternal Order of Police and Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong regarding its “no confidence” vote for the department’s chief, deputy chief and patrol commander, Sneed received his lieutenant’s pin.
With family and friends in the packed City Council chamber Monday, Sneed, a 22-year member of the force, received the promotion from Chief Frank Kosman based on his “skill and experience.”
The officer said he prepared his comments for this occasion 22 years ago when he was hired. He chose not to share those remarks Monday but rather shared the poem “If,” by Rudyard Kipling and published in 1910.
The poem’s overall theme is one of manhood and leadership while remaining balanced in life.
Sneed recited the poem from memory.
After finishing the poem, Sneed, a member of the department since March 1997, said he would help bring about positive change within the department.
He said ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and he asked the people to watch “as we do the extraordinary.”
After the ceremony and greetings from well-wishers, Sneed said he was disappointed the F.O.P. chose this night to address the council. He also said the department should be similar to the community it serves, meaning there should be more minority members on the force and within its administration.
“I’m here to serve, and I bring forth hard work and dedication,” he said. “I want to be a positive force.”
Kosman was allowed to choose one of the three top-rated sergeants to fill out the lieutenant command. He chose Sneed, who was third on the list.
It has not been an uncommon practice for the top one or two candidates to be bypassed for a lower-ranking candidate.
Sneed said he felt sorry for the other two candidates.