The Illinois Police Department awarded $67K in grants for an online portal dedicated to civilian advice

by Steve Lord
The Beacon-News

AURORA, Ill. — Aurora received a federal grant to develop an online portal where people can report incidents to the Aurora Police Department.

US Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, announced this week that the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Program awarded Aurora and Elgin a total of $67,621.

The federal program awards money each year for a variety of program areas, including law enforcement, crime prevention and education, technology enhancement, mental health programs and more.

At its September 27 meeting, the City Council held a public hearing on the grant and then voted in favor of a memorandum of understanding between Aurora, Elgin and Kane County on how to divide the money between police departments and the office. of the bailiff

All three agencies have been participating in the Edward Byrne grant program, named in memory of a young police officer who died in the line of duty, since 2009.

The grant is available to qualifying public safety jurisdictions. In Kane County, the Aurora and Elgin Police Departments meet the requirements.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office, by itself, does not meet the qualification because it does not have the qualifying number of violent crimes. But both Aurora and Elgin agree each year to give 30% of their appropriations to Kane County.

With Aurora and Elgin splitting up and money being sent to Kane County, the breakdown is: Aurora, $32,801; Elgin, $14,533; and Kane County, $20,286.

[RELATED: 50 ideas for a $20,000 police grant]

Aurora police have proposed using their grant funds to develop an online citizen reporting portal that would allow citizens to report non-violent, non-emergency matters to police, according to a memo from Lt. Bill Rowley of the Department. Aurora Police.

According to the memo, citizens can currently only report incidents to police in person, either by coming to the police station or waiting for an officer to be dispatched to their location for face-to-face interaction.

Rowley wrote that reporting in person is often inefficient and can deter residents from reporting incidents. That was increased by the pandemic, but also takes into account people with mobility problems.

Rowley said that “having a computer or mobile-based platform for this report is one way for us to continue to show care and service to our community.”

Additionally, police officers believe that having an online reporting portal for non-violent and non-emergency matters will free up police officers to address other issues.

In the past, Aurora has used the money to buy patrol cars, global positioning systems and surveillance cameras, Segways to patrol along the Riverwalk and in RiverEdge Park, bicycles to patrol, off-road cargo vehicles and night vision equipment. The city also spent some of the Justice Assistance Grant money to purchase body cameras.

(c) 2022 The Beacon-News (Aurora, Illinois)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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