Minooka Chief of Police Justin Meyer gave an overview of the department’s annual report for 2017 during Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.
One of the year’s highlights, Meyer said, was the purchase of in-squad cameras for all department vehicles. Each vehicle is outfitted with digital video.
“The purpose of this video is to allow for accurate documentation of police public contacts,” Meyer said.
A six-month renovation of the police side of the municipal building was completed in 2017 and included numerous upgrades, office space, technology and safety. The renovation was paid for through general fund reserves and police seizure funds for much needed improvements, he said.
An intergovernmental agreement with Grundy County ETSB was made and provides portable, mobile Motorola radios. The agreement gives Minooka access to the STARCOM21 network to allow the village to respond more effectively to emergency calls. The radio system should be going live on the STARCOM21network in the next month or two after upgrades are completed.
Being a part of the STARCOM21 system will allow the department to communicate with other agencies throughout the state and help strengthen the department’s mutual aid system.
A citizen survey is available on the department’s website. It’s designed to receive feedback from the community to make the department more effective.
Traffic crashes were down this year, Meyer said, the first time since 2013. The top crash locations in order are Ridge Road and Mondamin Street, which was significantly higher than the second-place location of Ridge Road and McEvilly Drive. Ridge and Bob Blair, Ridge and Twin Rail, and Ridge and Grainger Way followed.
“Traffic enforcement, of course, is an important function to aid in reducing traffic crashes,” Meyer said.
While thefts increased in the village this past year, the overall crime rate continues to decrease.
Additionally, the department received no formal complaints against any officers from the community.
“Our focus this year was to have meaningful interactions with our citizens and provide them with legitimate reasons for encounters while remaining neutral and transparent in decision making,” Meyer said. “I am proud of the members of this department.”
The department continues to provide meaningful services to the community including D.A.R.E. program, Explorers, and the police alumni association as well as services to residents.
An internet purchase exchange location has been installed in front of the police department for people who buy items over the Internet and need a safe place to make the exchange. The area is well-lit and has video surveillance. The location is marked with a sign and is next to the Little Free Library.
Meyer also presented a life saving award to Officer Robert Stukel who, along with Sgt. Sean Beeler saved the life of a man after responding to a call of an unresponsive male. Stukel performed CPR while Beeler applied the AED.
Minooka Officer Renee Parrish was presented with the department’s officer of the year award for 2017.
Parrish has been with the department for four years and is assigned to the patrol division. She is an advisor to 14- to 20-year-olds in the Explorer program who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.
She is involved in Special Olympics as well as other events within the village.
In addition to drug and DUI enforcement, she made several significant arrests in 2017, Meyer said.
“Overall her commitment to excellence reflects credit upon herself, the department and the village of Minooka,” he said.