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Weitzel: Citizen involvement works every time

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 2:20 p.m. CST
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Riverside Chief of Police Tom Weitzel.

Many police departments and police officers define their role primarily in terms of crime control. The very term of law enforcement agency is certainly an indication of this focus. But policing is much more than law enforcement. Police departments strive to actively involve citizens in its operation, through a variety of means. Riverside is no exception. Recently, the village of Riverside experienced several instances where direct citizen involvement was the key element in the police department apprehending an offender, making the arrest and ultimately seeking prosecution.

Within the last month, there have been many cases I can point to. In one case, a bicycle theft had occurred and a resident saw the theft take place. He jumped into his car and followed the offenders while he called the police on his cell phone. Officers were able to apprehend three juvenile suspects as they were crossing the border east into Berwyn. In another recent arrest, a resident called the police in the early morning hours to report a suspicious vehicle parked on the public street. When officers arrived, they found two individuals in the vehicle engaged in illegal activity. Through investigation, it was determined that these individuals had been running a long-term criminal enterprise out of a home located in Riverside. Both of these arrests would have never been possible without immediate citizen involvement.

As chief of police, I am extremely gratified to know that our residents will not only call the police, but will provide my 911 personnel with an accurate description of the offenders, report their last direction of travel and copy down any other relevant information that can help the investigation, such as license plate information.

One of our most powerful strengths in the village of Riverside is our residents and business community. The Riverside Police Department is wholeheartedly committed to policing Riverside in concert with our fellow citizens.

Thank you for your support!

Tom Weitzel is chief of police at the village of Riverside

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