Rita Mullin

Neighborhood Based Policing-Neighborhood Watch

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

Through the philosophy and practice of neighborhood based policing, instituted initially in 1989, officers are being exposed to more diverse aspects of the community. Officers who are assigned to teams receive regular training from the department’s police social worker, crime prevention officers and from community experts on various topics. An example would be the officers of one team who were educated about clinically diagnosed emotionally disturbed children so that they could be more effective in dealing with the children in a residential care home.

Palatine’s practice of community policing involves every member of the department as reflected in the revised position descriptions. The agency’s philosophy involves personalized, proactive policing with officers empowered to make problem-solving decisions with the community.

In conjunction with the local YMCA officers participate in sporting activities and other games with children from the inner-city of Chicago. The once-a-month activity, begun in 1994, gives officers a chance to interact with the children from the inner-city and places the officer in the situation of leading the suburban youth by example.

Fostering understanding about and compassion for those less fortunate within the community are the driving forces behind the department’s annual participation in the Cook County Sheriff’s Summer Police Day Camp. The department began its involvement in the summer of 1994. Officers volunteer to spend their own off-duty time with disadvantaged youth. Some of the activities the day camp offers are sporting activities, games and museum and zoo trips.

Neighborhood Watch is another way officers and the community are given an opportunity to interact with one another. Neighborhood Watch groups have been established in every area of the community since 1975, 35 percent of the households and over 22,000 residents participate in the program. The main thrust of the program in the last few years has been in Palatine’s more densely populated areas of the community composed of multi-family housing where more diverse populations are found.

2. How is the program financed?

The Crime Prevention Unit was initially undertaken with a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority in 1975. The grant enabled the department to commence its crime prevention program through the training of two officers at the National Crime Prevention Institute and set the unit up with office furniture, supplies and a vehicle.

Neighborhood-based policing was practiced on an experimental, pilot basis for several years prior to becoming a community-wide effort in August of 1994. To fund the program on a community-wide basis required the hiring and training of additional personnel. In 1992 the community overwhelmingly passed a referendum to provide the necessary funding for personnel, equipment and vehicles.

For more information, please contact:


Return to Previous Page.

Home Search

The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

Copyright ©2000, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.