DeKalb police looks to improve community safety through initiative


DeKalb police respond to a call on Hillcrest Drive.

By Brooke Shinberg

The DeKalb Police Department’s “Vision for the Future” initiatives are underway and community leaders are excited for their progress.

The 20 initiatives put into place by DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery earlier this year have begun to be integrated into the normal police system in an effort to improve community safety. The programs emphasize drug enforcement practices and are designed to help the police be more efficient and effective in their patrols.

“I think they are largely just getting started,” said second ward alderman Tom Teresinski. “They are well supported.”

According to Lt. Jason Leverton, programs like Not On Our Campus are in place but more work still needs to be done to get them operational. Many of the initiatives will be ready in a month or so.

The targeted response unit and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Narcotics task force are both underway and expected to begin work in March, Leverton said.

Collaboration with the NIU Police Department has been underway for quite some time and is continuing to improve, while some programs that require specific training for officers are underway as well, Leverton said.

“We have training coming up for the software for the online reporting system,” Leverton said. “We hope to have the online reporting system ready by May.”

He said the IWATCH system reporting system has been purchased and will also be implemented soon. The system is designed to allow smart phones to be able to report incidents to the Police Department.

“I think they are making very positive strides,” said Mayor Kris Povlsen. “It’s far-reaching improvements.”

Leverton said the programs and the police are striving to make people feel safer especially in the parts of town that are perceived as dangerous.

“Safety is the No. 1 priority in the community,” Teresinski said.

Teresinski said this program set is a great step to help ensure that safety.

The programs will also act as steps toward more integration and collaboration between the city’s police and other city organizations, Leverton said.

“We are excited about the growth and partnership with the community,” Leverton said.

The initiatives are transitioning smoothly because some are natural extensions of policies already in place.

“We are trying to make it as seamless as possible,” Leverton said. “So far, so good.”

The Police Department just added two more officers and Teresinski said he hopes in the future there will be a talk about budgeting for even more officers. The projected cost of all 20 intiatives is estimated at $466,820, which will include the costs of adding more police shifts, a new officer and a canine drug team, according to a Jan. 16 Northern Star article.