The Evanston Police Department has reassigned four officers and a sergeant from the Community Policing Unit to patrol duties for at least the next two months.
In a news release, Cmdr. Ryan Glew said the “drastic step” is necessary because of continued staffing shortages.
The reduction, Glew says, will impact the department’s ability to service the needs of the Community and Councilmembers and the requests for police services brought to them by their constituents.
Three officers will remain in the Community Policing Unit. They will focus on continuing outreach with the Hispanic community and addressing downtown and Main Street panhandling and quality of life issues.
Furthermore, Community Policing Unit officers assigned to patrol will continue to maintain their community contacts while on-duty.
As a result of these reassignments and service reductions, the department’s community engagement programs, including the Citizen’s Police Academy, will be postponed. Community engagement and education content posted on the department’s social media platforms will decrease.
The reduction in the Community Policing Unit comes after a previous reduction in Detective Bureau coverage and service.
Previously, the Detective Bureau provided coverage from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day of the year. Due to the coverage reduction, the Detective Bureau coverage is now 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday – Friday with a on-call schedule for weekends.
As part of service reductions the Detective Bureau is no longer routinely assigning detectives to investigate the following crimes:
- Misdemeanor thefts and retail thefts where the suspect is not identifiable.
- Misdemeanor criminal damage to property where the suspect is not identifiable.
- Trespassing and burglaries, including vehicle, garage, residential, and commercial, where no comparable physical evidence is recovered and the suspect is not identifiable.
- Stolen vehicles where no comparable physical evidence is recovered and the suspect is not identifiable.
- Financial crimes where the victim has not incurred a monetary loss and the suspect is not identifiable.
- Crimes with victims that decline forensic services.
- Crimes with victims who do not wish to sign a criminal complaint.
The staffing shortage presently stands at 26 sworn vacancies and six civilian vacancies.
In addition to these vacancies, there are presently seven sworn members and two civilian members that are not available for full duty assignments.
The overtime and forcebacks created by the sustained shortage, Glew says, has had a negative impact on the health and well-being of Evanston Department personnel, making these reassignments and service reductions necessary.