CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — On Saturday, two Central Illinois police departments started to change where they focus patrols. It’s in an effort to create faster response times and increase the number of officers throughout the community.
It’s happening in Champaign and Campustown with the University of Illinois Police Department and Champaign Police Department.
Now, UIPD will be responsible for the area of campus stretching from Springfield Avenue to Windsor Avenue and between Wright Street and Neil Street.
It comes after Champaign City Council passed an intergovernmental agreement in the spring.
Both departments started to transition on Friday, so they were ready to go the next day.
Officers with UIPD and CPD said they’ve always helped each other out, and UIPD is helping CPD even more by taking on a larger part of Campustown.
“The goal is to try to provide a safe environment for the community. Whether that be a student, business owner, a community member,” Tim Hetrick, UIPD’s assistant chief of police, said.
Kevin Olmstead, Champaign’s Interim Deputy of Operations, said it’s another way they can make sure they’re both efficiently helping everyone, and the public won’t notice a major difference.
“More or less, it’s just a U of I officer showing up to answer their call instead of a CPD officer,” Hetrick said.
He added that UIPD works with students often, so there is a direct line with the University if something does happen to a student.
“We have the added resources of our student conflict resolution, our dean of students office,” Hetrick said.
UIPD is adding seven officers to their fleet to help with the extra calls in their new patrol area.
Olmstead said with the new agreement, CPD will be able to be more involved throughout Champaign.
“We’re just going to redeploy our resources that were on campus, to other areas of the city to meet demand there,” he said.
He added that Champaign is working to hire more officers, and so far this year, they’ve hired 17.
“My hope is that you’re going to see more Champaign officers in your areas on a more frequent basis,” Olmstead said.
The intergovernmental agreement between the two departments will last two years, with an option for a third.
The agreement also notes that the City of Champaign will reimburse UIPD $840,000 per year for the additional officers. The university will cover $320,000 for training, new vehicles, equipment and any other expenses.