Future NIU Police strategic plan to set modern-day policing criteria

Once created, the strategic plan is expected to stay in place for three years.


Northern Star File photo

An NIU police car parked on campus. NIU Police Chief Darren Mitchell is set to create a 3 year strategic plan.

DeKALB — In December, NIU Police Chief Darren Mitchell mentioned planning and creating the police department’s first strategic plan.

The strategic plan has not been drafted yet, but Mitchell has a strong idea of what he’d like the plan to include and what it will look like. 

“The strategic plan is going to basically allow the police department to lay out the primary focus for the way in which we relay resources on how responsive we are to the needs of the community,” Mitchell said. 

The plan has six primary goals: maintain a safe campus environment, enhance community service and engagement by supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, create strategic department plans, invest in employee development, develop hiring and training techniques and advance technology and communication efforts.”

The strategic plan is set to position the police department as a unison force.

“The strategic plan is going to position the police department as a leader when it comes to the ideals of modern policing and 21st-century policing concepts,” Mitchell said. “It is going to help us be more proactive than reactive, help set up a sense of direction and increase operational efficiency. These are the things that are going to be critical as I lead the department in the next phase of our future.” 

The strategic plan will benefit the police department and community.

“It will provide a roadmap to align organizational and functional activities to achieve set goals,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to guide the department’s management team, our discussions, decision making, resources and budget requirements to accomplish set objectives, which ultimately will increase operational efficiency.”

The strategic plan is set to be a duration of three years. 

“The three-year plan is not too far into the future,” Mitchell said. “There are so many different things that can change in such long durations of time. An example of this is COVID-19, and before this, George Floyd. So much has changed so it’s important to have a plan that isn’t too long because if it’s too long, you’ll get to a point where things have really changed with the criminal justice system and laws, making the plan ineffective.”

Mitchell said by looking at other institutions’ strategic plans, three years is typical. 

Before the strategic plan is created, Mitchell said he plans to hear out ideas from fellow police personnel as well as members of the community.

“The strategic plan is something that is coming down the road, I’ve been in the job now for four months, it’s down the road, we haven’t started it yet,” Mitchell said. “We are currently planning with the input of people from the department, my commanders, supervisors, police personnel, and I’d like to get feedback from our community members.”

Mitchell said he believes that the strategic plan is essential for the police department and the community. 

“The strategic plan is going to benefit the police department and the community,” Mitchell said. “As we plan for our long term goals, a strategic plan is critical for providing a foundation that will guide the future of public safety at NIU.”