Jan 122019

I learned rather early in life that I wasn’t made for hard, physical work. All it took was one long hot day of baling hay by hand in a t-shirt. Never wear a t-shirt when baling hay. It took a number of years later to realize that I wasn’t made to be a police officer. It’s dangerous, very difficult, and nowadays very unappreciated. It’s also a very necessary job. It’s that thin blue line that separates chaos from safety.

Imagine pulling a car over for a traffic stop at 2:30am, and not knowing what you will encounter. Or being called to a domestic disturbance, or a burglary, or shots fired. Police officers run towards what most of run away from.

My wife’s dad was a police officer in Muncie, Indiana for 42 years. You have to really like what you do, to do it for that long, or maybe you just do it because it becomes who you are. He could have written a book, as is the case with just about every police officer.

I, along with my wife, had the opportunity to participate in Naperville’s Citizen Police Academy, along with about 25 other folks. It’s a nine week program that flies by, along with each 3-hour class. It is without a doubt among the best 27 hours of time I have ever invested. Many communities throughout the country offer the program, which is designed to acquaint individuals with activities of their local police department. Graduates become more aware and better informed about how the police department works.

The link below will give you an overview of Naperville’s program:

More information on the Naperville’s Citizen Police Academy

The following is a week-by-week view of the program’s content:

In a nutshell, Naperville does it right. The program is not just a NPD task or a service, it’s a commitment and a passion on their part. Every aspect of Naperville’s Citizen Police Academy (NCPA), is done with respect and class. Members of the Naperville Police Department are outstanding representatives of their profession, and of the city.

Greek poet Archilochus said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training”. Members of the NPD are always in training, even at 2:30 in the morning.

Jan 062019

We can thank Sir Robert Peel (1788 – 1850), considered the father of modern policing, for creating the foundation for today’s police departments. In 1829 Peel established the Metropolitan Police Force for London based at Scotland Yard. Unpopular at first, they proved very successful in reducing crime in London, and by 1857 all cities in Britain were encouraged to form their own police forces.

He kept it simple by using two principals; 1) the basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder, and 2) the ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.

Naperville’s Police Department Mission Statement:

To serve the community, while also protecting life and property.

Naperville’s Police Department Values

The pillars for which Naperville’s Mission Statement rests upon are,

  • Integrity – We are committed to actions that reflect honestly and integrity at all times
  • Employees – We are committed to working together as a team and serving the community with dignity and respect.
  • Accountability – We acknowledge, as a department and as a staff, the need to account for and accept responsibility for our actions.
  • Community Partnership – We are committed to collaborating with the entire community to build a partnership based on engagement, trust, and transparency as we carry out the great responsibility of enforcing laws and ordinances with the community, not on the community.
  • Diversity – We recognize the value of varying backgrounds, beliefs, perspectives, and experiences as being vital to our understanding and meeting the community needs.

Key Police Department Initiatives

The NPD has created numerous initiatives to strengthen its mission, all of which help the residents and businesses of Naperville including:

  • Drug Take Back Program
  • Gun Take Back Program
  • Lock It or Lose It Program
  • Safer Naper Program
  • Chat With The Chief
  • Connect For Life
  • Crisis Intervention Team
  • A.L.I.C.E. Training Program
  • De-Escalation Training Model
  • Peer Support Program
  • 21st Century Policing Model and The Five Pillars
  • Implicit/Explicit Bias Training
  • Citizen and Youth Police Academy
  • Citizens Community Radio Watch
  • Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS)
  • Police Chaplains Program and Prayer Initiative

Critical Issues Impacting Policing (2019 – 2024)

In order to stay ahead of the curve and trends, while always staying true to its mission, the NPD continues to be forward thinking regarding critical issues impacting our community, now and in the future. Four key areas identified are human resources, technology, communication, and collaboration. They include:

  • Revolution in emergency communications
  • Revolution in technology with current technological advancements occurring every 1.5 years, and moving to be instantaneous within 5 years
  • Gun violence / mass shooting / terrorism
  • Managing large-scale demonstrations
  • Opioid epidemic
  • Mental health and suicide cases
  • Crime rates & trends
  • Recruitment, hiring, retention
  • Training, leadership & employment development
  • Peer support for personnel
  • Cyber crime
  • Open data and social media communication
  • Customer expectations and needs
  • Community and police agency collaboration & partnerships
  • Intelligence led policing
  • Gold standard performance-based organizational structure
  • Legislation and unfunded mandates such as body cameras
  • Youth and senior population
  • Crime prevention programing
  • Traffic education and enforcement
  • Firearms Restraining Order Act
  • Economy and budget
  • Problem-oriented policing

One can only imagine that Sir Robert Peel would be proud to see and know what the Naperville Police Department has accomplished with the foundation that he created.