The Resident Officer Program of Elgin (ROPE) originated in May of 1991. ROPE was created to improve the quality of life for the residents of Elgin, neighborhood by neighborhood, in combating crime by working with neighbors to arrest the deteriorating conditions that existed.
At the inception of ROPE, three neighborhoods were selected. The neighborhoods where officers were assigned to live were Ann / Gifford, Illinois Court, and E. Chicago St. Due to the successes of these three areas, new ROPE neighborhoods were added to bring the total to eight by 1997. The Illinois Court location was closed in 1993, only three years after it was opened due to the success of the program, supported by a sustained decrease in crime.
Keys to Success
Key to the improvement of the quality of life and perception of crime in these neighborhoods is the officer’s ability to listen to neighbors, working with them to creatively address issues. ROPE is the neighborhood’s liaison with government resources, including the police, providing an immediate link to community policing efforts throughout the city of Elgin.
The identification of neighborhood issues, followed by a coordination of effort lead by the police with City departments, is key to ROPE success. Each neighborhood poses issues requiring unique solutions. ROPE, in concert with an enhanced department philosophy of community policing, offers an opportunity to benefit neighborhoods across the City of Elgin.
Challenges & Rewards
The ability to identify a problem and find its solution is one aspect of ROPE that provides both challenges and rewards to the officer and neighbors. The personal contact with the neighborhood is an immeasurable benefit of the program. The program provides a constant challenge to solve problems while living and working in the neighborhood that a resident officer must realize.
Scheduling must be flexible, contrary to traditional policing, to allow officers the ability to address quality of life issues. The dedication of members assigned to ROPE, coupled with their ingenuity and flexibility in addressing the neighborhood needs, has proved to be successful in carrying forward the mission of the program.