The IACP Midsize Agencies Section members from Illinois held their annual Spring “working lunch” meeting on March 26th at Illinois State Police Headquarters in Springfield.
Newly promoted Chief Kenny Winslow of the Springfield Police Department served as host for the meeting that was underwritten by IACP corporate partner Motorola. Illinois State Police Colonel Marc Maton delivered a briefing to the group about the newly implemented concealed carry legislation. As the last of the 50 States to allow the concealed carrying of firearms, Illinois Chiefs learned the lessons from their Mid-Size agency colleagues around the U.S. when it came time to draft policies and train their officers. The medical marijuana dispensaries that will soon be opening in Illinois were also discussed, and once again valuable information gleaned from Mid-Size agency Chiefs in Colorado and Washington have proved beneficial.
Later, there was a round table discussion on a variety of topics including a re-cap of the Mid-Size Agency Section meeting held in New Orleans the week of March 20th, held in conjunction with the IACP’s Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP). Chief Jim Ritz of Berwyn just returned from New Orleans and explained the proposed expansion of the Benchmark Cities data program. The “Don’t Shoot” program combating gang/gun violence being used in Peoria has shown promise and is modeled after “Operation Ceasefire” implemented in another Mid-Size agency, High Point North Carolina.
The Illinois Mids is an informal group made up of the two dozen Chiefs representing agencies that police 1/5 of Illinois residents living outside the city of Chicago. Members belong to both the IACP Mid-Size Agencies Section representing over 700 departments serving populations from 50,000 to 500,000 as well as the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP). The group tries to meet twice a year, once in the Spring in the State Capitol of Springfield located in central Illinois and again in the Fall up North in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park. The “working lunches” are held in conjunction with gatherings of the Illinois Chiefs (ILACP) to minimize travel and time spent away from the office.
Mid-size departments confront a range of “big-city” issues, but without the same resources to deal with them. Gangs, drugs, serving diverse communities, manpower challenges, media relations and shrinking budgets are frequent items brought up during the round-table discussions. While the purpose of the gatherings is to discuss mutual issues and to exchange new strategies—the Illinois Mids also use the lunch meetings to network and build relationships that prove beneficial throughout the year.