The Hickory Hills Police Department continues to place a great deal of emphasis on strategic planning in an effort to provide direction consistent with our stated mission. In 2013, short term goals focused on equipment needs and assessments designed to evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs. As a result, the entire fleet of patrol vehicles were upgraded and a new modernized logo was created to enhance the overall appearance of these vehicles. In car video camera systems were upgraded as well as the mobil data terminals mounted inside every patrol vehicle. The Department also researched and acquired a License Plate Recognition System which will enhance patrol and investigative functions. A new software program was purchased and installed for the management of property and evidence that will enable a more efficient method of tracking and recording all property inventoried by Officers. The purchase of this equipment was made possible from a major seizure of illegal funds, in the amount of approximately one million dollars in 2012, by our Officer assigned to the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Federal Task Force. In addition to the aforementioned equipment procurements, the Community Policing Division continued to expand throughout 2013. The initiatives established and implemented by this Division remain at the forefront of efforts to improve the quality of life for our residents.
In 2013, the Department focused on improving services to all those experiencing special needs as well. Every Officer received training in assisting individuals who are afflicted with various degrees of Autism and Alzheimers Disease. A department policy was created to provide additional guidance to Officers responding to missing persons who live with these type of challenges.
In an effort to reduce potential injuries to Officers, a foot pursuit policy was created at the encouragement of the City’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance carrier. The Department also intends to implement an Officer Wellness Program in the near future to assist in this endeavor. Tasers will be deployed in early 2014 which will compliment the existing less than lethal weapons which are available to Officers. Each Officer will receive training on the proper use of this equipment in accordance with department policy.
I am also pleased to report that due to a cooperative effort between our department and surrounding police departments we were able to cut the total number of residential burglaries in half from the previous year. The acquisition of new video systems along with strategic deployment of cameras and selective patrol tactics will also assist us in our efforts to quickly identify and apprehend offenders.
Enhancing existing partnerships with local schools and community groups remain a priority within our organization. The Department continues to work in conjunction with the local schools, businesses, and parks in identifying and addressing safety concerns and emergency responses to critical incidents. The support of the general public is considered to be crucial to the overall effectiveness of the police services provided to the community.
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