Local police will get federal, state help in fighting crime

News-DemocratMay 5, 2013 

A U.S. Justice Department initiative will be enlisted to help four metro-east police departments fight crime.

Members of the new Metro East Police District Commission said the federal Diagnostic Center will conduct a top to bottom review of all of the assets and resource deficits of the East St. Louis, Alorton, Brooklyn and Washington Park police departments.

Additionally, the diagnostic center will analyze patterns of crime fought by the police departments. The goal is to align the police departments with efficient and effective resources that are available at both the federal and state level.

"The Diagnostic Center will help the police departments to implement the best crime reduction practices that have worked in other high crime areas across the United States," said St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

Members of the Metro East Police District Commission also said they are making progress with things like policies and procedures, weapons recertification and equipment maintenance.

At the recent meeting in Washington Park, the 20-member panel that includes Kelly, law enforcement members, clergy, a former judge, the St. Clair County Sheriff, a former police chief and six representatives from local communities who were appointed by their local city councils, took a number of actions and announced the Diagnostic Center agreement.

Last summer, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation to create the Metro East Police District. The district, which covers East St. Louis, Alorton, Brooklyn and Washington Park, is overseen by the Metro East Police District Commission.

There are three committees within the group: Shared Services, Standards and Resources.

The goal for each one is to work to improve the quality, integrity and efficiency of the four departments.

The group discussed combining services for vehicle maintenance for the East St. Louis, Brooklyn, Washington Park and Alorton police departments. If an agreement were approved, there would be a schedule set for routine maintenance of each department's vehicles to ensure that they are properly maintained and in good running condition.

All departments will do weapon recertification to make sure that all personnel in the respective departments are certified. In some cases, the police chiefs have already begun to recertify their officers.

Firearms training for all of the departments was approved by the group.

The group also voted unanimously to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Financial Authority to oversee all of the group's expenditures.

Members of the Shared Committee called on the group to vote to support paying for a contract with Lexipol, which is a policy and procedure service that drafts policies and procedures for police departments and they unanimously voted in favor of it.

Chairman of the group, Calvin Dye, said, "These policies and procedures are based upon national and local standards for police departments."

Lexipol also will develop and provide daily training on these policies for the four departments.

Currently, Lexipol is used by the Belleville, O'Fallon and Fairview Heights police departments.

The Metro East Police District Commission rotates its meeting, which are the fourth Friday of every month, between the four departments. Alorton will host the upcoming May meeting.

The public is invited and are allowed to express their concerns about their respective communities.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

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