MINOOKA – In his annual report to the Village Board, Minooka Chief of Police Justin Meyer said modern-day policing is changing from a warrior mentality to one of a guardian mindset to build trust and legitimacy.
Meyer attended the Illinois Chiefs Conference this past year and participated in discussions on the changes.
“While police departments are focusing more on treating people with dignity, respect and compassion, Minooka police department continues to maintain a strong relationship with the residents and business owners here in the village,” Meyer said.
“The village is fortunate to have the finest men and women each day serving them. I am impressed with the high degree of professionalism, caring and compassion I see from our officers.”
There was an increase in citizen-generated calls for service in 2016. But one of the department’s two categories of offenses has continued to decrease since 2011. That category includes burglary, theft, and aggravated battery and assault, among other crimes.
With an increase in traffic crashes at Ridge Road and Misty Creek Drive in 2015, a reduced speed limit and installation of traffic control signage was proposed to the Grundy County Highway Committee.
The two initiatives reduced crashes from 14 in 2015 to nine in 2016.
The primary cause of traffic accidents remains distracted driving, Meyer said. To that end, the department will participate in Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week, enforcing distracted driving laws at the village’s high-crash intersections.
“Community relations continues to be our main objective. It is critical that we maintain positive relationships with the members of our community,” Meyer said. “Positive relationships improve confidence in the public and, in turn, improves the quality of life in our community.”
Following his report, Meyer presented Officer Kiedra Meece with the Officer of the Year award for 2016, and presented lifesaving awards to officers Meece, Staci Kapinus, Renee Parrish, Robert Latz, Erik Larson and Christopher Presler, and sergeants Sean Beeler and Matthew Chinski.
“I think we know what a wonderful police department we have,” Mayor Pat Brennan said. “I am proud to have not just [village] staff but the police department and public works. We are very, very lucky in Minooka.”
At the end of the meeting, trustees were asked for a consensus on two items that were not on the agenda relating to the police department remodeling project, which is scheduled to be complete mid-April.
Village Administrator Dan Duffy advised that he was just informed the flooring could not be completed, because there is no vapor barrier, which keeps the humidity above the threshold for application of the epoxy coating, next to the concrete.
An additional $11,000 will be needed to blast the concrete and put in a vapor barrier.
Three additional sprinklers need to be added to the exterior of the building because of obstacles within the concrete walls; and sprinklers in two holding cells and the interrogation room need to be replaced with institutional sprinklers because the current ones can be taken apart and used as sharp objects. The total sprinkler addition is $4,600.
Trustees informally consented to the expenditure after discussion and the items will be on the April agenda for the change order. Trustee Rudy Martin was absent.