Park Ridge beat officers are ‘point of contact’ for noncriminal matters
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:46AM
For many Park Ridge residents a meeting with local law enforcement stems from an unpleasant place: a criminal act, trouble with a neighbor or family member, an accident.
Leaders within the Park Ridge Police Department are trying to change that while also giving residents a go-to officer in times of chronic, but not necessarily criminal, matters.
The department is launching a police-beat-leader initiative, naming five officers leaders of their assigned geographical beats and giving businesses and residents a “point of contact” in times when they have questions, concerns, or noncriminal complaints. These may include neighbor disputes, animal problems, youths acting out in a neighborhood and noise complaints, to name just a few.
“Pretty much any of those quality-of-life issues, those issues that present themselves more frequently in Park Ridge than homicides and robberies, and things of that nature,” said Deputy Police Chief Lou Jogmen. “It’s those quality-of-life issues that these beat team leaders are really going to work together with the rest of the department to try to solve.”
Citizens and business owners will be able to contact their beat leader via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The officers themselves will also have a greater presence in their assigned neighborhoods, making it a point to introduce themselves to residents whenever possible.
“Our goal here is to make sure our beat officers are going to reach down into the community, really make themselves known,” Jogmen explained. “They are going to do increased walk-and-talks in both the commercial areas as well as the residential.”
Assigned as beat leaders are Officers Matt McGannon, Carlos Panizo, Tom Rechlicz, Dave Cacioppo and Steve Tracy. They, Jogmen said, will be the “gatekeepers of information” within their respective beats and work with other beat officers to address issues. They also provide citizens with “a face to a name,” as opposed to just a voice on the phone, Jogmen said.
The beat-leader program was created in an effort to enhance problem-solving within the community and better address “a whole host of issues that may not rise to level of criminal activity and certainly aren’t best addressed by arrests,” Jogmen said.
The program is the latest in a series of initiatives developed in recent years to promote the community-policing concept favored by Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski. Community policing is a philosophy supporting community partnerships and various problem-solving techniques to address crime and other local issues.