21st Century Policing
The Police Department’s vision for advancing 21st century policing is supported by seeking diverse and recurring community input. The Police Department’s 2015 strategic planning process, which sought input from the community through surveys, citizen dialogue and the Champaign County Community Coalition, reinforced the most effective way to build trust and to reduce crime was by fostering strong, collaborative community relationships. Citizen perspectives and partnerships are a key component of the Police Department’s ability to identify problems, implement effective solutions and to assist staff with making informed policy changes to help build community trust and transparency.
As Champaign Police continues to work alongside its public to advance 21st century community policing techniques, we understand many of you have questions. Below are a few we commonly encounter with responses to help you learn more about our Department.
For additional information, please feel free to reference the Department’s March 6, 2020, report to the Champaign City Council, found online here.
On July 14, 2020, Champaign Police provided an additional update to the City Council about the Police Department’s policies and procedures following recent local, regional, and nationwide events and discussions regarding policing practices and reform. That report can be accessed here.
*The City will continue to add more content to this page in response to resident’s questions in the days and weeks ahead.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Police Department also remains actively involved in City Government 101, the Community Coalition, neighborhood meetings, STAR Longest Table events, and Risk Watch — a basic safety course for elementary-aged students helping to create a link between police, the classroom, and the child’s home. Additional efforts to increase interactions between Police Department staff and the community have served as productive platforms by sharing information and perspectives. Some of these initiatives include the Youth Police Academy and Youth Police Explorer Post programs which introduces youth to law enforcement, Coffee with a Cop events, Department tours, and open house events.
Community engagement helps promote mutual trust and cooperation with the community, which is essential in developing relationships to address crime. Community policing and strengthening relationships with stakeholders go hand-in-hand, and allows the Department to enhance public safety, but also serves as a foundation for community connectivity between all residents, visitors, and businesses. Importantly, it fosters continued learning and listening by police with the individuals they serve.
To view the complete bridge-building agreement “Shared Principles” please click here. The Illinois NAACP chapter and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police are credited for leading this agreement.
Before arriving at a background investigation, applicants must first pass a written exam, complete an initial oral board interview, and then pass the Chief’s Panel interview. Chief of Police Anthony Cobb leads the interview with members of his command staff, and they are looking for public servants committed to treating each individual they encounter with unconditional respect. If a candidate is identified by the Chiefs Panel to proceed to the next step, a comprehensive background investigation is then conducted. Elements of this process can consist of the following:
• Fingerprint submission to the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification
• Professional reference and social reference inquiries
• Employment verifications
• Property management rental verifications
• A review of applicant’s credit report
• Receipt and review of certified high school and college transcripts
• Circuit Clerk/Criminal and traffic record checks for all counties of residence
• Police reports in which the applicant is listed
• Calls for police services at current or former residences
• Information from other law enforcement agencies the applicant previously applied to
• Neighborhood canvass
• Spouse/partner interview
• Records management checks
• Proof of valid driver’s license check
Champaign Police Department Rule 3, Section C (Providing Name and Badge Number), states: “Employees shall provide their name or badge number in a prompt and respectful manner when requested by any person when the employee is on duty or while acting in an authorized police capacity, except when the withholding of such information is necessary to the performance of police duties.”
This can be found in the Use of Force Policy (1.3) under section 1.3.2 “Use of Deadly Force.”
On July 1, 2020, an update was made to our Use of Force policy to clearly reflect state law and our existing practice of prohibiting chokeholds or strangleholds. The revised Use of Force policy can be found here. Specifically, section 1.3.5 to reference chokeholds.
*Please respect our delay uploading recent Use of Force reports due to challenges of the committee meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More information on the Citizen Review Subcommittee can be found here.
Community partnerships will continue to lead our path forward. Our attendance at the Champaign County Community Coalition will never cease, as well as engaging with our neighborhood groups during meetings. Just as we always have, we will provide public safety awareness and education to our community, especially in areas that are disproportionally affected by crime to help improve our outreach and assistance while interacting with residents, visitors, and businesses.
The law is to be enforced with the people, not on them. The promotion and protection of public safety is accomplished through unconditional respect and protecting the rights of all. We look forward to working alongside you more, to listen, to learn, and then make sure we are following our promise of providing the highest levels of public safety services that you require of us.