CHANNAHON — Community policing has been part of Channahon for more than 20 years, and because of it, says Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold, the town is a safer place.
“There have been many community policing programs through the years,” Wold said, “all with the goal of better connecting the police department to the community. ... I feel it is important for our police department to have a good relationship with the community in order to understand their policing needs and to give the community an opportunity to learn more about its police department.”
DARE The oldest community policing program in Channahon’s police department is the DARE program, begun by former chief Steve Admonis and officer Mike Devine. Officers today continue the program that goes into grade schools and teaches students how and why to avoid drugs and violence.
Citizens’ Police Academy This is the seventh year for the academy, which is a 12-week classroom and hands-on program for those who want to learn more about the police department. Students learn about juvenile crimes, traffic stops, and a variety of police topics and can go on ride-alongs.
Cadet program This program is for high school and college-age residents who are considering a law enforcement career. It’s a year-long session of classes and ride-alongs with officers. Cadets also help the department throughout the year with such things as crowd control at the Christmas Tree Lighting event at the village hall and traffic control when Navajo Drive is temporarily closed off for events.
Community Emergency Response Training
The department has held two of these training sessions in partnership with the Will County Emergency Management Agency designed to lend a hand to neighbors in the case of a disaster, whether from nearby chemical or nuclear plants, a tornado, or severe flooding.
Elderly Service Officers Wold began this program about 15 years ago to combat scams and various other crimes that target the elderly. With officer Michael Lazzari and the Channahon Fire Department, senior citizens groups learn about how to protect themselves with such projects as home safety checks at senior residential areas. Officers also attend Channahon Township’s Senior Lunches at the Channahon United Methodist Church once a month to update residents on the latest information and to answer questions.
Each One Reach One This program helps with crime prevention in Channahon’s businesses. Officers help businesses come up with a crime plan or look over existing crime plans. Officers also work in conjunction with business managers or owners to help put robbery prevention programs in place.
Peer Jury This program, begun about two years ago, is designed to help keep minor juvenile offenders who have committed minor crimes out of the court system. The “jury” hears about 15 to 20 cases each year and assigns offenders to perform community service or to write a paper on the consequences of their actions.
National Night Out Channahon participates in this national program where residents have the opportunity to come in the department during its open house, meet officers, and see what the department has to offer. This year, the night will be held in conjunction with a park district movie in the park.
College internships The Channahon Police Department hosts an intern just about every year. It’s a 10-12 week internship for college students going into law enforcement. Each intern is assigned to various officers for a week or two each to learn the various aspects of being on the job.
The Channahon Police Department also gives ride-alongs to Grundy Area Vocational Center law enforcement students and has a representative available to Channahon grade schools and a full-time officer at Minooka Community High School.