The Police Department is committed to having a highly trained police force and accomplishes this through several strategies. First, the Police Department utilizes personnel to serve as in-house instructors after having successfully completed instructor courses. Instructors have been selected to teach a variety of core topics required by state mandate or which are essential to basic police functions. The Police Department currently retains instructors certified in firearms instruction, control devices, Taser, emergency vehicle operation, use of force, and various other topics.
In-house instructors generally teach curriculum during in-service training days, however, due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements, in-person, in-house training was limited in 2020. In-house training occurred in January and February 2020 prior to the onset of the pandemic, and did not again resume until September for outdoor range training, where use of force, and less lethal shotgun training also took place. An additional in-house training was held in October of 2020 which covered baton, oleoresin capsicum (OC, or pepper spray), and Taser use. Because of the inability to hold in person training, on-line training was extensively used to fill in any training need gaps. The Department subscribes to the Police Law Institute, an on-line training service which provides monthly training for police personnel on legal and procedural updates. This training fulfills the requirements of state mandated training and all sworn personnel are required to complete this monthly training. Additionally, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) website was used for mandatory on-line training in lieu of in-person training in 2020, and included the topics of Trauma Informed Response to Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Psychology of Domestic Violence, Procedural Justice, Mental Health Awareness, Laws of Arrest Refresher, Hate Crimes, Cultural Competency, Crime Scene Investigation, Constitutional Authority, Basic Spanish for Law Enforcement, and a Review of the Use of Force with a Firearm.
Generally, select personnel attend a variety of training conferences relevant to their special assignments or positions, both in- and out-of-state. Additionally, newly promoted Sergeants attend a 1-week first line supervisor training course and in-house training program, and newly promoted Commanders attend a 10-week law enforcement executive leadership training program. None of these training activities took place in 2020, however, due to the pandemic. The Police Department also holds a yearly Command Staff Leadership Workshop (CSLW) separately for Commanders and Sergeants where advanced leadership topics are address. While the CSLW for Commanders took place in November of 2020, the training event for sergeants was postponed until 2021 due to positive cases of Covid-19 among staff.
Personnel also receive advanced training through outside Mobile Training Units (MTU) such as the North East Multi-Regional Training Group and the Tri-River Training Group, though this was drastically reduced in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Police Department continues to seek ways to implement and improve training, and adds curriculum as deemed necessary and as resources allow.