O'Fallon Progress

City looks to hire additional police officers

Herb Roach
Herb Roach

The O’Fallon City Council and I have prioritized public safety as a focus for O’Fallon. We have already begun to take steps to continue keeping O’Fallon one of the safest communities in the state of Illinois and St. Louis Region.

I, for one, consider community safety as a basic role of our local government and an important aspect of the quality of life in our community. We continue to mobilize local partnerships with key actors — the O’Fallon Public Safety Department and other city departments, other governmental agencies, community and civic organizations, and residents — to develop a safe, secure, and vibrant community.

O’Fallon residents feel safe in their community and strongly support the police department. In our last National Citizens Survey, 94 percent of O’Fallon residents that responded stated that the O’Fallon Police Department was “Good” or “Excellent.”

These excellent ratings are no accident. The police department has continually had high ratings, going back to the 2005 survey. Our officers are committed to community service, from the Citizens Police Academy to Neighborhood Watch to Ice Cream Cones with a Cop. In addition, O’Fallon police officers are highly trained: 84 percent of our officers have a bachelor’s degree, 25 percent have a master’s degree, and all are required to complete hours of field training each year.

Even though the men and women of the Public Safety Department are doing a great job, we must continue to strive for greatness. Just like the famous quote, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ’Til your good is better and your better is best.” Our Public Safety Department is always looking for ways to improve.

As such, we continue to take steps in order to make O’Fallon even safer. Over the past few months, we have been able to return our police staffing to its highest level since 2009. In addition, this next budget year, we are planning to add at least two additional police officers to the already excellent O’Fallon Police Department.

Not only are we increasing the abilities and staffing of our Public Safety Department, we are also taking steps to be better prepared in the event of an emergency. At the last Committee of the Whole meeting, O’Fallon Public Safety Director Chief Eric Van Hook, Fire Chief Brent Saunders, and police Capt. James Cavins gave a presentation of O’Fallon’s Emergency Operations Plan to the City Council.

The City Council received training on the plan, concepts of operations, phases of emergency management, and what the role of the elected official is during an emergency.

As residents of O’Fallon, you should always be able to reach out to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. Having open communications is important to me and something I care very deeply about. Thank you for reading, and please remember, my door is always open.