Elgin Crimefighting Soon Going High-Tech

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Krol Daily Herald Staff Writer

The Elgin Police Department's new $15.8 million headquarters will allow officers to fight crime smarter, get to crime scenes quicker and serve the public better.

When the new building is up and running within the next several months, a scrambled radio signal means drug dealers won't be able to hear police coming.

A computerized dispatch system will be able to tell exactly which squad car is closest to an emergency.

And residents involved in car crashes will be able to get accident reports at the scene.

Elgin residents can get a first-hand look at the high-tech crime-fighting changes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the new station, 151 Douglas Ave. Tours follow a 10:30 a.m. dedication when Mayor Kevin Kelly and members of the city council cut ribbons to officially open the building.

The police department's 152 sworn officers and scores of support employees will move into the new building during the next two weeks.

When they get there, they'll find a three-story building that Police Chief Charles Gruber said was designed specifically to help officers better do their jobs within the framework of the department's community policing approach.

That approach stresses communication between police officers and the residents and neighborhoods they serve.

"We treat our business and customers using the new corporate thinking," Gruber said. "We're trying to open up the department."

Among the several improvements aimed to help police fight crime better is a $6.3 million communications system.

Lori Moses, the city's director of emergency communications, said the computerized system will shorten the time it takes for police and firefighters to get to an emergency. …