UIPD adapts to larger jurisdiction

By Jacob Slabosz, Staff Writer

The University of Illinois Police Department officially adopted jurisdiction over parts of Campustown from the Champaign Police Department on Oct. 1 after the two agencies made an agreement to do so in April 2022.

According to CPD Public Information Officer Joe Lamberson, the Champaign Police Department faced issues with staffing in previous years, which ultimately led to the drafting of the agreement.

“(CPD) sought assistance from our law enforcement partners to reallocate our resources in a way that was more responsive and provided greater benefit to the community,” Lamberson said. “Allowing UIPD to take primary patrol in this area will allow CPD to redeploy our resources throughout the rest of Champaign, increasing police visibility and proactivity in other areas.”

According to UIPD Police Chief Alice Cary, since UIPD already held responsibility over parts of Campustown, it was a logical choice to take over the remainder.

“Because this is an area with a lot of student residents and student-focused businesses, it made sense to offer our support to CPD and begin taking Campustown calls,” Cary said. “University police have extensive understanding of student needs and concerns from officers’ experiences on campus, and they have a deep working knowledge of campus resources tailored to students’ needs. This allows us to provide really student-focused services.”

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    Further, according to Cary, UIPD expects faster call response times across the city. As outlined in the agreement, UIPD hired seven additional patrol officers to cover the larger footprint and better respond to the increase in total calls.

    Though not a direct outcome of the agreement, UIPD implemented additional changes to better police the community — namely, the addition of a UIPD substation at 505 E. Green St.

    “(The substation) is another way that we are increasing our presence and visibility in Campustown,” Cary said. “Our Community Outreach and Support Team (or COAST); Response, Evaluation and Crisis Help (or REACH) team; security guards; Community Service Officers (or CSO) and Student Patrol work out of that office.”

    UIPD’s new CSO program is not directly related to the agreement, but according to Cary, the two are still connected. CSOs are unarmed officers whose primary responsibilities are low-level calls such as vandalism and theft.

    “They can also work with community members to help identify and address ongoing safety issues,” Cary said. “These are things that do not always require a response from a uniformed officer. By giving these calls to our CSOs, it frees up police officers to spend more time engaging in crime prevention work and generally being on patrol and visible to act as a crime deterrent.”

    According to the agreement, UIPD will have responsibility over the area through Sept. 24, 2024, though it will automatically renew for an additional 12 months unless a non-renew notice is provided.

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