When we report to work each day at the Naperville Police Department, our mission is simple – to serve and protect the people of this great community. That service takes shape in any number of forms, from routine patrol operations and investigations into crimes to protecting lives and being a source of strength for individuals enduring perhaps their worst moments.
As Chief of Police since 2012, I can honestly say that I am humbled on a regular basis by the resilience, generosity and resourcefulness of our staff. This past year gave me many reasons to marvel, as our police employees made great strides in the service to others and each other. There were a number of times I expressed my pride and gratitude for the high quality of work being accomplished.
As you will undoubtedly see in the pages of our annual report, our staff made a number of significant arrests in 2018, taking violent offenders, drugs and weapons off our streets. They gave momentum to proactive policing programs that allow citizens to safely discard their unneeded prescription medications and unwanted firearms. They also gave hope to 15 people suffering from addiction and their families by helping them into treatment through our Connect for Life program.
In 2018, Naperville enjoyed its lowest violent crime rate in many years thanks, in part, to these proactive policing measures and the partnership of our community. The crimes that did occur were dealt with swiftly and professionally, many ending with arrests. Our personnel were aided in their efforts by extensive training, strong partnerships and new technology, specifically the implementation of new software in our forensics unit that helps us recover evidence from computers and smart phones.
All of this was accomplished with efficiency of operations while significant change was occurring within the walls of the department. 2018 brought with it a wave of retirements among veteran officers, resulting in the promotion of a new deputy chief, five new commanders and five new sergeants along with the hiring of 13 new officers.
The number of officers eligible for retirement continues to increase dramatically in the coming years. This makes recruitment, hiring and succession planning crucial to keep our department at full strength and under solid leadership. This planning intensified in 2018 and will continue in the years to come to ensure that the great service provided daily by our police employees will not only continue, but thrive.