There is no doubt that given the events that unfolded in Ferguson Missouri, Baltimore Maryland, Chicago, and across the country this past year have led to significant challenges for leadership in Law Enforcement. The Hickory Hills Police Department has consistently made a concerted effort to respond to these challenges in a positive manner through the creation and modification of goals and the extensive training of personnel.
As an established leader in the law enforcement profession, I realize the importance of forging partnerships with the community that we serve while remaining vigilant to the needs of our citizenry. For the last fifteen years, while acting in the capacity as Chief of Police, it has been my pledge to instill integrity, compassion, and devotion to duty from each of our officers during their interactions with the general public. I empower and challenge each of our supervisors to take a vested interest in the development of effective shift goals, innovative strategies designed to improve the quality of life for our residents, and the coordination of professional growth of their subordinates. We will continue to strive toward exceptional performance and accountability within our organization during the years to come.
In 2015, the Department began the process of working with the City ESDA Director to review and modify the City’s Disaster Plan to ensure that it is designed to adequately protect lives, property, and the environmental infrastructure of the City. The Department developed and implemented a new monthly productivity assessment in an effort to remain compliant with legislative mandates and current with professional standards. Also in 2015, the Department implemented a Wellness Program designed to improve and maintain the overall health of our personnel.
The department also experienced a resurgence of youth within the patrol ranks in 2015. With the hiring of three new officers, approximately one third of the patrol staff now have less than five years of experience working for the City. This has required our management staff to constantly assess the effectiveness of our Field Training Program in an effort to provide the exceptional services the community has come to expect and deserve. The Department also trained and assigned a patrol officer to the South Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team. This is a team comprised of highly skilled traffic accident investigators from several different law enforcement agencies that are responsible for investigating all major and fatal injury accidents occurring within the participating municipality’s jurisdiction.
The Community Policing Division was merged into the Investigation Division in the latter portion of last year in an effort to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the functions provided by these Divisions. Personnel assigned to this Division have worked closely with management and ownership of multi-family dwellings with the goal of improving the quality of life for the residents of those particular buildings and those residing in the immediate vicinity of those locations. This Division has proven to have had a significant impact upon the reduction of crimes and police calls for service at multi-family dwellings throughout the City.
Compliance with Statewide 911 legislation will be one of the major issues facing the Department in 2016. We have initiated the process of analyzing the various alternatives associated with this issue and plan on moving forward with one of these options. This will consist of either consolidation of 911 services with other agencies or out-sourcing of current services.
In conclusion, the Department could not perform at the level at which it does without the dedicated support of the members of our City Council. This support has had a significant impact on the development and implementation of innovative programs and noteworthy recognition received throughout all levels of government. I consider it a privilege and an honor to serve in the capacity of Chief of Police for the City of Hickory Hills.
Alan T. Vodicka