Gurnee Citizen Police Academy

The Gurnee Citizen Police Academy is a 36-hour block of instruction designed to give the public a working knowledge of the practices, policies, and procedures governing the police department. The instruction consists of twelve 3-hour blocks conducted on a weekly basis. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and of good moral character with no felony convictions.

Classes are held each Thursday evening from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Anyone interested in attending the 12 week FREE course can obtain an application by contacting Deputy Chief Saundra Campbell at (847) 599-7050 or via email.

Class #27 started on March 3rd, 2016. For the following 13 weeks students in the class shared the duty of writing an article about each class and their experiences. Their writings are below:

Week #6

Apr 29, 2017, 17:05 PM

Week 6 was held on April 7th, 2016 and was devoted to automated traffic enforcement, the investigations division and crime prevention.

Automated Traffic Enforcement: Philip Brunell is the department’s traffic safety technician. He is the gatekeeper for all traffic enforcement programs within the village, including automated traffic enforcement; more commonly known as red light cameras.  The singular goal of the automated traffic enforcement program is to increase compliance with red lights, thereby reducing traffic crashes and injuries that result from them.

A group of specially-trained officers review automated traffic enforcement violation recommendations as part of their daily patrol responsibilities. Officers use their discretion as if they would if they had observed the violation on the street in person. If the officer approves a red light camera notice, a civil penalty is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. Drivers are not identified as forward-facing photo enforcement systems are not allowed by Illinois law.  These civil penalties do not get reported to the Illinois Secretary of State unless a vehicle owner accumulates 5 of more unpaid notices.

Approximately 43% of recommended red light camera violations are approved by officers. The remaining 57% are rejected for any number of reasons.

Phils traffic safety program responsibility includes ensuring integrity is maintained, that programs are conducted within the framework laid out by statute and transparent, that reporting requirements are met, and to provide unparalleled customer service to those who need it.

Investigations Division: Detective Matt Nietfeldt opened the session with a short history of his career with the Gurnee Police Department.  He was an undercover officer for three years, and was unrecognizable today from the pictures he showed the class from his undercover days.  His specialty in the investigations division is cell phone forensics.

Detectives are provided with a myriad of equipment and resources to assist them with conducting their investigations.

When a call comes in, it is the patrol officer who takes the initial report.  It is then assigned to a detective based upon case load and area of expertise.  Once a case is assigned, time is spent writing and compiling documents for the report, then consultation with the States Attorneys Office. After case review an arrest warrant may be issued. The arrest on a particular case is typically followed by a bond hearing, preliminary hearing, grand jury proceedings, pre-trial conferences, suppression hearings and then the trial.

Crime Prevention: This topic was presented by the departments Crime Prevention Specialist Tom Agos.  Tom opened his presentation by explaining that crime prevention improves the quality of life for every community.  He indicated that there are 10 principles of crime prevention, with the first one being “preventing crime is everyone’s business.”  In Gurnee, the police department encourages residents and visitors to be actively engaged crime prevention.

One program that has a deep impact in the community is neighborhood watch. Meetings are held twice a year for each participating neighborhood, of which there are 33.  At these meetings, crime statistics for the particular neighborhood are shared. Then problems specific to the neighborhood are discussed. Meeting typically end with some type of training program centered on the prevention of crime. If your neighborhood is not part of the program, talk to your neighbors to see if they are interested in starting a program.  If they are, contact Tom Agos at 847-599-7180.

Week #7 (04/14/16) will focus on internal investigations and the departments partnership with the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS).

Deb (and husband Tim) Dineen – current CPA Alumni Association Board Secretary