Margaret Downing photo The Journal
Pictured recently are Loves Park Police Chief Chuck Lynde, left, and Deputy Chief Shane Lynch.

By Margaret Downing
As is usually the case, the City of Loves Park Police Department is dealing with various law enforcement and public safety goals.
Chief Chuck Lynde explained recently that other departments within Winnebago County are all pursuing “a county coalition” or agreement with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office to continue dispatching within the various outlying county areas.
The Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)/Records Management Systems (RMS) Intergovernmental Agreement assists in dispatching calls countywide.
Rockford purchased and maintains a Law Enforcement Records Management System, including communications interface capabilities with the Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) systems operated by the Rockford Public Safety Answering Point, the County of Winnebago’s Public Safety Answering Point. Access to the system has been made available for units of local government. With all agencies on the same system, law enforcement tasks are definitely enhanced, per Chief Lynde.
Both Lynde and Deputy Chief Shane Lynch have something to say concerning the recently installed license plate readers now being utilized by the department.
As noted in June by the chief, “This is one great investigative tool.” The readers, along with 18 cameras, have been installed at critical intersections and locations including along I-90 at E. Riverside Blvd. (in all directions, both accessing and leaving the Tollway), also on N. Second St., N. Alpine, Perryville, Mulford and Forest Hills Roads, and on the Riverside Bridge.
The department will be requesting the okay from the city council on August 26 to hire “a lateral police officer,” who, if approved, will be sworn in at that meeting. The department is also looking at hiring an additional one or two officers.
Police department members will be helping with Special Olympics fundraising by being involved selling Special Olympics Torch Run T shirts, hats, and other items at the Schnucks store on Forest Hills and Harlem Roads August 16, 17, and 18. Lynde and Lynch both thank Schnucks for their support in this effort.
According to Lynde crime is being kept at fairly low numbers in the city, although the department is currently involved in investigating a death that occurred in July. “Violent crimes are not a problem in the city,” Lynde said, “Property crime figures are also pretty low. We recently had some car burglaries, eight or nine in one night from unlocked vehicles.”
Traffic crashes that officers respond to in the city run an average of about 12 a week.
In order to help keep crime low, the department would like to have residents stay vigilant. “If they see something that doesn’t look right or is out of the ordinary, please give us a call,” Lynde said. “If it looks suspicious then it probably is.”
One troubling trend nationwide, of course, has to deal with distracted driving. “There are signs,” Lynde noted, “such as drivers texting and maybe swerving in their lane of traffic, or when at a red light looking down into their laps.”
Just holding a cell phone in your hand or on your lap while driving is against the law now, not just talking while driving and holding the phone.
Distracted driving can cover other problems and driving while under the influence falls into that category also, as the recent accident where two Loves Park vehicles were hit while the officers were doing a traffic stop. One of the vehicles had some damage, one of the officers went to the hospital but returned to work the same day, and the other officer came in the following day. It could have been much worse.
The first week of school has commenced and Deputy Chief Lynch wants residents to be aware of that. Extra officers were scheduled at school crossings and such the first week, and if warranted that would be extended he said.

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