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Community Conversations - Frequently Asked Questions
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What kind of sensitivity/cultural training do officers receive? What about fair and impartial policing training?
Officers receive a basic understanding of this topic in the police academy and through internal training provided by the police department. In 2017, the police department trained all officers in fair and impartial policing which focuses on:
- Recognizing your own human biases and understanding how implicit biases can affect your perceptions and behavior
- How biased policing impacts community members and the department
- How fair and impartial policing supports procedural justice and thus police legitimacy.
The training allows for officers to develop skills and tactics to reduce the influence of bias on police practice while allowing officers to be effective and just police professionals.
What kind of mental illness training do officers receive?
Officers receive a basic understanding of mental illness in the police academy and through internal training provided by the police department. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training is a 40-hour class that provides in-depth training on mental health topics inclusive of role-play scenarios conducted by licensed psychologists, social workers, certified crisis intervention officers, and professional actors to provide training that combines lectures and hands-on learning.
CIT training has been provided since 2006, and the department continues to move towards all officers in the department being CIT-certified. As we conclude February 2022, 142 officers have received CIT training. (Those who are not yet certified are in different phases of field training and not yet eligible for the class.)
We also have a Crisis Negotiations Unit for incidents that may require a more specialized and/or long-term response.
What type of de-escalation training do officers receive?
Expanding on the prior question, officers are trained in de-escalation techniques through department training and scenarios. Additionally, a simulator is used to expose officers to scenarios where de-escalation techniques can be practiced. The goal of this training is to enhance an officer's skills in establishing contact, building rapport, and gaining influence to achieve a resolution to an incident.
Officers are trained that they should gather information about a situation, assess the risks, assemble resources, attempt to slow momentum, communicate, and coordinate a response during an incident that poses an immediate threat, and consider using de-escalation strategies.
De-escalation is communication combined with proper physical tactics. It is the proper assessment and understanding of an incident while providing the optimal choices for persuasion. Officers try to recognize the suffering of an individual, convey awareness, show compassion, listen and ask the individual what they need or how the officer can help.
Why did the 2018 officer-involved shooting investigation take so long to complete?
The Illinois State Police (ISP) investigation had many components including: interviews of witnesses, processing evidence, diagramming the incident scene, completion of the arson investigation, and the analysis of hours of video footage. The ISP also had to wait for crime lab results before completing the investigation. Each step of the investigation was documented and when it was completed, it was sent to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, who ultimately determined charges would not be pursued in that case.
As a general rule, the department does not comment on case specifics until the investigative process has concluded with both the ISP and Cook or Kane County State's Attorney's Office (dependent upon the county having jurisdiction).
How can the video of the shooting be accessed?
To view the body and dash camera footage in their entirety, visit: cityofelgin.org/video312. If issues are experienced when accessing the files, please call 847-289-2700 and ask to speak to a supervisor for further assistance
Is education available to new drivers pertaining to traffic stops and what should or should not be done?
For the past several years, the department has given presentations to Larkin High School students as to how to interact with officers during a traffic stop. The sessions are given to students twice a year in their driver's education classes. Elgin High School was added in the 2017-18 school year and the department is planning to reach out to other high schools in Elgin to offer the same information to more students.
Are citizens allowed to videotape traffic stops?
As long as videotaping is not obstructing the situation.
What happens to an officer if he/she is terminated? What are their options?
The officer may challenge the termination through an arbitration hearing. The arbitration process is similar to a court process where each side presents evidence and witnesses and the arbitrator decides if the termination will be upheld.
How can community members come forward to bring information/complaints to the PD?
When a citizen has a complaint against a department employee (sworn or civilian), the complaint may be filed in several different manners:
- In person, directly to a department supervisor at the police department
- With the Legal Department at City Hall
- By telephone or anonymously
Blank complaint forms are available at the police department information desk or online at by clicking here.
The department has also trained members of the community as to how to complete the necessary forms and intake complaints for those who may not want to present themselves in person to the police department. If you would like assistance from a trained Community Advocate for the complaint process, call 847-361-4056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How are police policies and procedures developed, reviewed, and maintained?
The police department continuously reviews its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure they are current and reflect best practices. The policy management function is a collaborative effort between personnel throughout the police department. Policy changes are driven by (but are not limited to): legislative mandates, requirements established by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board, case law, changes within the police department, legal department recommendations, and observations made by supervisors.
The department utilizes a Policy Review Committee to review new policies, as well as proposed changes to existing policies. The committee consists of a cross-section of employees from all operational components. In addition to the Policy Review Committee, there are several external resources for the development of procedures.
The department belongs to the Illinois Police Accreditation Coalition (IPAC); this group encompasses agencies throughout Illinois. IPAC agencies collaborate on law changes and share new/revised policies amongst the group. We also refer to a national policy database hosted by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and information published by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Policies are published and assigned to personnel via PowerDMS, a system utilized by the department to maintain and track policies and revisions. PowerDMS also enables the department to track that employees have provided their signature as an acknowledgment of policy review. At times, employees are required to pass a test prior to signing off on a policy. Tests serve as an added training measure to ensure employees are familiar with the protocols.
What engagement opportunities does the police department participate in?
The police department has many different opportunities for engagement - all of which can be found on our website by clicking here. Following us on Facebook is the best way to stay informed about upcoming events and opportunities. Click here to view.
For a printable listing of activities and programs, click here.
Does EPD track demographics for interactions/use of force?
The department tracks every use of force and show of force incident involving officers. For each incident, the race, sex, and age of each person involved are collected. Additionally, information is collected regarding the type of force used or shown, time of day, day-of-week, if the force used was effective, the percentage of calls where force was used and if either the officer or the person whom force was used upon was injured. The department prepares a use of force analysis quarterly and annually and each use of force/show of force incident is reviewed by a sergeant, lieutenant, and commander.
Does EPD keep statistics regarding people who are stopped?
The department tracks every traffic and pedestrian stop made by officers. Included in the data collected is not only the race and gender of the person stopped, but also information related to the reason for the stop, the result of the stop (ticket, verbal warning, written warning), and if a search was conducted on the vehicle, driver or passenger. If there was, also tracked is if it was based on consent, arrest, probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or a drug dog alert.
What non-lethal tools does EPD have?
The department utilizes the following non-lethal force tools: Taser, oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, expandable baton, pepper ball gun, canister OC and "hot gas", and 40-millimeter projectiles.
What future less-lethal technologies/tactics is EPD exploring
New force technologies are reviewed and investigated on an ongoing basis as they are developed. Currently, new techniques and tools used in places like New York City, Europe, and Canada are being investigated. One tool used by the New York Police Department, the "Y bar", assists officers when confronted by people armed with knives and blunt objects. In Europe and Canada, training is being explored to learn how to safely and effectively address situations involving people armed with weapons not inclusive of handguns.
How often are Tasers effective?
Various research has been conducted on the effectiveness of Tasers. Generally, Tasers are effective in approximately 60% of their use.
Do Tasers affect people with heart conditions?
Tasers are designed not to interfere with a heart.