Uniformed Officers are the primary response in the Department's crime-fighting operations. Over 250 officers serve around the clock and log thousands of miles each year patrolling our streets and neighborhoods, working to enhance the quality of life for our residents. This grassroots partnership reduces fear, improves cooperation, and fosters mutual respect.
Patrol officers are highly trained professionals responsible for the following:
- Apprehension of criminal offenders
- Maintenance of order
- Protection of life and property
- Emergency intervention
Patrol officers also assist in accident scene investigation and have a proactive stance toward traffic enforcement. Additionally, officers assist detectives and crime scene unit personnel with controlling crime scenes and gathering evidence. Patrol officers serve as a direct liaison between the department and the community on the quality of life issues.
Also part of the Patrol Division is the K-9 Unit. The specially trained K-9s and their handlers perform patrol functions such as searches, drug tracking, and tracking suspects or missing persons.
Among the tools used routinely by patrol officers are the mobile data computers (MDCs) in our squad cars. This sophisticated communication network enhances crime-fighting efforts by providing immediate access to vital information such as vehicle license information or a suspect's criminal history. Through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, we have implemented a laptop reporting system for field officers. Patrol officers can obtain information and complete reports in the field and transmit them immediately to headquarters for advisement and review. The new method of transmitting information to and from the officer in the field provides greater efficiency. The MDC can also share dispatch information directly with the officer without using the radio.
Traffic (Accident) Unit
The Traffic Division's responsibilities include traffic enforcement, fatal/major injury collision investigations, roadside safety checks/intoxicated driver saturation patrols, parking code enforcement, and public awareness of traffic laws. The Peoria Police Department Traffic Division currently consists of the following personnel: 1 Lieutenant, 1 Sergeant, 9 Officers, and 4 Parking Enforcement Personnel.
On-Line Traffic Accident Reports
The Peoria Police Department is now improving our service to our community by making crash reports available to the public online. Citizens, insurance companies, law firms, etc., can now rapidly find, view, and print crash reports from the comfort and convenience of their homes and offices. Reports will usually be available in this electronic format within 2 business days following the incident.
The Traffic Division's primary responsibility is to reduce traffic collisions within the 48 square miles of the City of Peoria, Illinois. We accomplish this through the enforcement of traffic laws and high visibility. It has been shown and proven in studies throughout the United States that the amount of traffic enforcement directly affects the amount and seriousness of traffic collisions. As the number of citations and visibility increases, crashes decrease, hopefully reducing personal injuries and property damage. We frequently have officers explicitly assigned to enforcement activities where all officers work in a specific area for any violations. Certain areas are chosen for maximum enforcement due to the number of collisions in that area and complaints received about the area. Aggressive traffic enforcement is a contributing factor in reducing crime.
Fatal / Major Injury Collision Investigation
The Traffic Division currently has trained 'Accident Re-construction Investigators' who are on call in case of a severe collision. The average investigator has a minimum of 200 hours of training, specifically in the traffic collision field. The importance of a thorough collision investigation has many aspects. The investigator determines the cause of the collision and if there are charges to be filed. Also, the report will likely be used later to assess liability and is frequently used in civil and criminal cases. Our Traffic Division is on the leading edge of technology in collision investigation. We were one of the first in our area to switch to 'laser' speed measuring devices, laser-assisted mapping and measuring, digital photography, and advanced training. We were also one of the first to use a system to assist in crime scene/collision diagramming with animation.
Road Side Safety Checks / Intoxicated Driver Saturation Patrol
Over the past few years, the Traffic Division has been working under state grants. The grants were given to help reduce the amount of intoxicated-driver-involved collisions. In the budget, the Department received new 'Preliminary Breath Test' (PBT) and 'Remote Breath Testing (RBT) breath devices, breathalyzer instruments, and money to cover overtime to perform intoxicated-driver sweeps within the city.
Our traffic division officers have also given numerous presentations on traffic laws and enforcement. We are sometimes asked to give presentations at schools to all age groups. During the presentations, we can relay the importance of safe driving and bicycle and pedestrian laws to children. We have also given presentations to adults in the Citizen Police Academy.