Next week, the Champaign City Council will consider approving a new intergovernmental agreement with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign which would increase the number of uniformed police officers serving Champaign’s residents. The proposed agreement would add seven new officers at the University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD), update patrol responsibilities in the Campustown area, and allow Champaign Police to respond more quickly to calls for service across the rest of the community. If the City Council approves the agreement during its meeting on April 19, 2022, the new patrol arrangements would be fully implemented by October 1, 2022, and last for two years with an option for a third.
If approved, UIPD would begin responding to calls in a portion of Campustown previously serviced by the Champaign Police Department (CPD). This would allow CPD to reallocate patrol resources to other parts of the community while ensuring continued public safety in the Campustown area. This adjustment will free up CPD officers to handle other priority service needs across the city, which should shorten response times and provide some relief for officers who are working long hours amidst the current staffing shortage.
The proposed agreement calls for UIPD to assume jurisdictional responsibility for the area bordered by Springfield Avenue on the north, Wright Street on the east, Windsor Avenue on the south, and Neil Street on the west. The City would reimburse the university $840,000 per year to fund the additional UIPD officers needed to respond to calls in that area. The university would cover approximately $320,000 in other costs related to training, vehicles, equipment, and other initial expenses.
“The proposed agreement builds upon the longstanding, cooperative relationship between the City and University to ensure the safety of all our residents,” said City Manager Dorothy Ann David. “I am grateful that the University is willing to partner with us in this new way so the City can continue to be strategic in allocating its limited staffing resources. I believe the agreement provides a quick and cost-effective way to increase the availability of police services to everyone across the city while continuing to ensure the safety of our students and campus community.”
Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones adds that the university believes the change will be well-received by those in the campus area. “This is a zone that is home to a large number of our students as well as a number of businesses that are largely student-focused. So, this new coverage area is a good geographic and operational addition, as our officers and public safety personnel have a deep working knowledge of the needs of the residents of this area as well as existing relationships with those in this area of the community.”