These past few months have been an exceptionally difficult time across the nation and certainly at home here in Oswego. It seems we have been faced with new revelations almost daily.
In these times of uncertainty, one thing remains consistent and true in Oswego – our police department has been a source of confidence and comfort. They have had our backs.
They played a primary role leading our community forward from the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic and then later through the wake of the George Floyd tragedy and the riots and protests that followed. Although not always immediately visible, their behind-the-scenes guidance and selfless contributions have been integral to the well being and safety of our community.
I was able to spend some time riding along with our officers over Christmas break and was impressed not only by the professional demeanor displayed in their work, but by the human compassion and kindness I witnessed.
We had several typical “police” calls, such as investigations and traffic stops, but more calls requiring our officers to be social workers, parents, and mentors to our residents. I was amazed at the broad skill set required to keep our community safe.
How can our department deliver this wide-ranging service? It starts with qualification and training. The Oswego Police Department is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. In fact, we have the only CALEA-certified police department in Kendall County. This means our police officers must undertake rigorous training every year that includes specific tactical training as well as de-escalation procedures, cultural competency, and implicit bias training. Last year, our officers underwent 9,000 man hours of training, and we invested nearly $500,000 to maintain this certification. As we hear some calls around the country to defund police departments, we are going the opposite direction. We are increasing our funding for training, personnel, technology and equipment.
Indeed, our police department, sworn officers and staff alike, have been there for us every day on the front lines. They risked exposure to the new virus every day as they continued their duties without question, answering calls for service in the community and even providing extra patrols for our grocers. They brought sunshine and goodwill to the community during the weekly CARE-avans this summer. They planned, directed and patrolled our community as we had our Fourth of July fireworks celebration. They protected our businesses and residents as riots arose in our neighboring communities. They planned the safety measures for protests and counter-protests held in our community. They were there and continue to be there day and night in our neighborhoods. Yes, Oswego police officers, you have our backs, and we want you to know we have yours.
• Troy Parlier is Oswego village president.