Our Commitment to Training & Accountability
The City of Des Plaines believes in recognizing our diversity and preserving safety for all residents. The City encourages all of its employees, including those of the Police Department, to take pride in their jobs and demonstrate a professional commitment to the Des Plaines community.
We are dedicated to strengthening relationships with the public we serve. To further emphasize this commitment, the Des Plaines Police Department signed a joint resolution with the Illinois NAACP State Conference in May 2018 adopting the shared principles "regarding the relationship between law enforcement and the communities and people they serve in Illinois." (Source:www.ilchiefs.org)
Our commitment to the community, along with training and strong law enforcement policies guide the daily work of our officers. Below you will find information about the specialized training our own sworn officers receive and topics of interest that pertain to law enforcement policies of the City:
Best Practices in A Modern World
An Overview of the Des Plaines Police Department (DPPD):
- The City of Des Plaines operates under a Council-Manager form of municipal government. Like all management positions in the City, the Chief of Police is hired by the City Manager based on professional qualifications and experience. Management staff reports directly to the City Manager and is responsible for the day-to-day activities of their respective departments.
- The DPPD has a civilian oversight board called the "Board of Police and Fire Commission." The Board consists of Des Plaines residents who are responsible for the testing, hiring, and termination of police officers and fire fighters.
- The DPPD does not have an Internal Affairs Office. Any complaint against the department is investigated by a third-party investigator. Often, this is a private law firm, and/or state and federal authorities. If anyone has reason to believe a member of the department has acted inappropriately they may file a complaint with the commander in charge or the Police Chief. There is also the option to file a complaint with the City Manager.
- Similar to several other municipalities in Illinois, Des Plaines Police Department works with Lexipol to develop policies and procedures. Lexipol (www.lexipol.com), a third party specializing in this field, provides fully developed, state-specific policies researched and written by subject matter experts and vetted by attorneys. These policies are based on nationwide standards and best practices while also incorporating state and federal laws and regulations where appropriate. These policies are continually updated throughout the year.
Law Enforcement Training and Best Practices:
- Today, in police departments across the country, expectations are that each and every sworn officer makes a personal commitment to exercise ethical behavior at all times. In addition to traditional skills training, the occurrence of terrorist activity in the U.S. and the increasing need for specialized police units, has led to a number of new training opportunities and programs for officers.
- In 2018, the Illinois Legislature passed statutes mandating the training of law enforcement personnel in the State. The statutes specify that some of the trainings are to be completed annually, while others are required to be completed every two or three years. Additionally, the 2018 legislation specifically banned the use of chokeholds/strangleholds by Illinois law enforcement agencies.
- We are proud to report that the DPPD meets all one-year, two-year, and three-year mandates on a consistent basis. The City uses the Police Law Institute, a nationally recognized third-party platform approved by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB), to determine training and testing requirements. The curriculum is approved by ILETSB and test scores, indicating compliance or noncompliance, are recorded and sent to the Board for inclusion in an officer's state training file. Personnel who fail the test are required to complete remedial training.
- The DPPD also schedules training led by topic experts who are up to date on current law enforcement legislation, best practices for calls involving subjects with mental illness and/or physical/emotional disabilities, the use of non-lethal technologies such as pepper spray, impact weapons and electrical discharge devices (tasers), and the most current protocol for responding to active shooter incidents.
- The DPPD adopted the use of officer-worn cameras and dash cameras several years ago. Every patrol officer must wear a camera while they are on duty, and they are required to turn them on when responding to calls for service.
- Additional trainings are conducted at the shift level under the direction and oversight of command staff and supervisors. These training include but are not limited to;
Child Abuse and Neglect
Adult and Juvenile Substance Abuse
Youth Interaction and Juvenile Reform
- The field of law enforcement is quite unlike any other position in our organization. And we recognize that police personnel are subject to stressors that the general public may not experience on a daily basis. To meet the needs of our staff, the City of Des Plaines has a mental wellness program in place for officers that includes peer support and/or access to a trusted list of vetted mental health professionals.
DPPD Policies Regarding Use of Force and Complaint Investigations:
We have received inquiries from the community about our police department’s policies and how they correspond with some of the guidelines being advocated for by police reform organizations. In review of our policies, we believe that the Department aligns with the spirit of what is being asked for in the recommendations.
- Again, chokeholds are Illegal in the State of Illinois and the DPPD. Chokeholds/Strangleholds have not been part of police control tactics training in Illinois police academies for over a decade.
- The DPPD's deadly force policy is a “protection of life” policy, meaning deadly force is only used to protect the life of an officer or member of the public. Des Plaines officers are trained in de-escalation tactics to be used well before resorting to any level of force.
- The DPPD stresses using verbalization techniques first before moving on to non-lethal intervention methods. The absolute last resort in law enforcement would involve lethal force to protect the life of police officers and/or members of the public.
- Officers should move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. The discharging of firearms at moving vehicles and/or its occupants should only be used as a last resort when the officer believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others.
- The DPPD has a strict policy on the use of force, which also requires intervention and reporting. Additionally, the State of Illinois passed legislation in 2018 that tightened up the manner in which use of force by police officers is investigated. For instance, in the case of a deadly force incident, the matter cannot be investigated by the agency whose officer used the force. Instead, the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Unit or the Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT) are called in to assist. Once the investigation has been completed, the investigative reports are submitted to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office of Police Accountability for review. Once the matter is reviewed there, the file is forwarded to the Illinois Appellate Prosecutors Office for final review.
The women and men of the Des Plaines Police Department will continue to serve our community with integrity and respect for all.