By Bob Balgemann


A lot happened around the Belvidere Police Department in the just concluded 2017 calendar year.

There were retirements, promotions, and new hires that brought the department back to its authorized personnel strength, and some accomplishments, to name a few. Details of all that activity was made part of the presentation of the 2018-19 budget, during the Jan. 22 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Beyond what was contained in that report, 2017 brought feats of heroism at a fatal fire and during a daring rescue in the Kishwaukee River, a continued focus on keeping drunken drivers off the road and a special state award for community outreach.

Grants help city police serve the community above and beyond what’s allowed in the annual spending plan. Last year the department once more was successful in receiving an Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) grant. Those dollars allowed the city to hire back officers, while off duty, on high-traffic evenings and weekends. That ultimately provides a more visible police presence during those peak time periods.

Volunteerism is a key ingredient of police service and the department in 2017 added a second Citizens Police Academy, so it held two such classes. The Academy is the first step in the training of volunteers for the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program.

Cost of putting on the academy was termed “a significant benefit to the city” as those volunteers help reduce the annual expense of overtime.

In the area of personnel, Deputy Chief Anthony Martin retired Jan. 27, 2017. Sgt. Matthew Wallace was promoted to Deputy Chief on Feb. 3, with Det. Daniel Smaha moving up to Sergeant the same day.

Ralphy retires

Another retirement was announced, that of canine Ralphy, who just turned 9 years of age and has encountered some health issues. His replacement is Monty, from Michigan, with Officer Brandon Parker being appointed as his partner/trainer.

Such a dog typically costs $13,000, but this time that expense is being cut in half because Officer Parker is providing the training. The balance of the purchase was made possible through donations from the community. Belvidere now has three police dogs.

Three new police officers were hired and introduced to Mayor Mike Chamberlain and members of the city council at various times during the year. They were Cameron Worley, who received badge No. 412; Joseph Danielak, No. 413; and Adam Mears, No. 414. That put the department at its allowable strength of 43 sworn officers.

In a relocated move, peer interviews for new officers was added to the testing process.

Continued training and education is important in the police department and last year Sgt. Christopher Washburn graduated from the NUCPS School of Police Staff and Command.

Bicycle patrols were reinstated in 2017, with city council approving the purchase of tasers and vests for some officers. Police Chief Jan Noble termed acquiring 14 tasers “a huge project that’s been in the works for years.”

A federal Department of Justice study showed a 60 percent decrease in the number of injuries to officers and suspects, among those officers carrying tasers. Currently, tasers are being used by 260,000 law enforcement officers in police departments and the military.

In addition,


For complete article, pick up the Feb. 14 Belvidere Daily Republican.