EPD wins state recognition for its community approach

Sheila Burt

For Evanston Police Department Chief Frank Kaminski, running a police station means more than enforcing the law. It means working with the community.

“It’s an important value for this police station,” Kaminski said of the Police Department’s community focus. “You can do more things collectively than you can individually.”

After years of developing programs that strive to involve the community with law enforcement initiatives, the department was recognized by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police for its emphasis on community partnership policing earlier this month.

EPD joins about 12 other Illinois departments in the recognition, Kaminski said.

He said the award acknowledges programs that encourage more communication between the department and residents — such as crime prevention programs and volunteer projects. He called the recognition “an award to the entire community.”

The Citizen Police Academy, where Evanston residents go through a free 12-week program to learn about the department, is one such project developed by EPD.

Kaminski said the program, developed in 1995, acted as a “springboard to a lot of other initiatives” and serves as a way for people to get connected to the Police Department.

Community programs have grown steadily over recent years at the department. The department also offers a chaplaincy program, Youth Outreach Initiatives and senior programs.

The award was presented at the March 8 Evanston City Council meeting after the department applied for the honor last summer.

Kaminski said EPD always is looking for more community involvement because the programs provide “tools to be an effective citizen.”

“It’s really a way of thinking — a philosophy you’re able to instill in your community,” he said.