DeKALB – The DeKalb Police Department is taking steps to improve community policing efforts and strengthen relationships with city residents by creating a Community Relations Team.
According to a news release from the department, the team's mission is to use "proactive and problem-oriented policing" which they hope will lead to a reduction in crime as well as an increase in public trust. The team will also use "non-traditional" policing methods, the release shows.
In an effort to improve community engagement, the team will work with residents, students and faith-based groups to identity underlying problems the department can address to reduce crime, enhance relationships and foster trust, acccording to the release.
During a public meeting after the controversial arrest of Elonte McDowell on Aug. 24, community members voiced a longstanding fear of DeKalb police and racial tensions.
The team will consist of DeKalb interim Police Chief John Petragallo, Commander Steve Lekkas as the administrative supervisor, Sgt. Chad McNett as the supervisor, police officers Jonathan Bell, Joshua Boldt, Tony Densberger, Sebastian Lemus, Danielle Sorenson and Sonny Streit, and Det. Kelly Sullivan.
Additional duties for the Community Relations Team will include coordinating and participating in special events such as Heroes and Helpers or National Night Out, community programming, public presentations, and crime prevention and safety efforts through community awareness campaigns.
If interested in learning more about the team or if you would like an officer to participate in your event, call the DeKalb Police Department at 815-748-8400.