The WHPD is comprised of several divisions, each with its own focus and staffed by professionals who have undergone extensive specialized training. Click on the links below to learn more about each division.
The communications center coordinates the necessary coverage for all police, fire and rescue and E.S.D.A. services. The center provides the area's emergency 9-1-1 services through a 9-1-1 Public Service Access Point (PSAP) that is TDD compliant for the hearing impaired.
Life threatening emergency calls are received via Enhanced 9-1-1, which provides the caller's location, name and address. Cellular calls to 9-1-1 are routed through a central processing point and then transferred to the Winthrop Harbor PSAP.
The current 9-1-1 system is being evaluated for compliance for the year 2001. Newer systems will use global positioning satellites (GPS) to provide the caller's precise location to within ten meters or less. This technology will greatly benefit the agency in that numerous calls for rescue are initiated from the waters of Lake Michigan.
Residents are reminded to use the department's non-emergency number, 872-2131, when calling for lock-out assistance, disabled vehicles, dogs at large, parking violations and other non-urgent matters.
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One of the most important functions at the police department is the keeping of records. From a stray dog to the most serious of felonies, the trail that the police record creates is the legal documentation that the statutes and law requires.
The final disposition of any incident depends heavily on the accuracy, timely collection, detail and preparedness of the records. Winthrop Harbor is proud to have some of the most well trained and professional police record keepers in the area.
A key element of record keeping is the adherence to confidentiality requirements. In fact, more than requirements, confidentiality is the law! The records department follows the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and Guidelines closely. Our response for information requests falls 100% under these guidelines and, of course, police incidents are never discussed outside the department.
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The WHPD Juvenile Division attempts to educate and guide minor children and parents by making available several options relating to their specific situation. These options include, but are not limited to:
Winthrop Harbor police personnel who are assigned to the Juvenile Division receive specialized training and must successfully pass State Certification Testing prior to appointment.
Our Juvenile Specialists work closely with various other law enforcement agencies, juvenile State's Attorneys, Department of Children & Family Services, Lake Shore Family Services, The Depke Center, area hospitals and other related agencies.
Juveniles who are in need of intervention relating to local or state violations/offenses are treated and handled in an appropriate manner relative to the seriousness of the offense or crime committed. These matters can be resolved by, but are not limited to, the following alternatives;
Those who commit serious felony offenses may be waived into adult court proceedings.
Winthrop Harbor Juvenile Specialists, along with other department personnel, are committed to assisting parents and juveniles in the community who have special needs or must become united due to an infraction/offense that was committed. Specialized patrols are conducted in an attempt to protect minors from becoming victimized and to help deter criminal activity committed by juvenile offenders.
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Our Property and Evidence Division handles a wide variety of criminal evidence, contraband and seized property, as well as lost-and-found items that are turned in to the department.
We currently have a team of three evidence technicians and one photographer, as well as access to county and state agencies dedicated to the collection and processing of criminal evidence. Any questions regarding property or evidence should be directed to the Property Room Officer at the Police Department.
TIP: If you've lost an item within the Village limits, give the Police Department a call. You never know...an officer may have found the item or another resident may have turned it in!
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As the department photographer, Communications Officer Bruce Edwards provides photographic services to support all operational units of the Police Department
When photography services are called for, he responds from the radio room or from his residence. Photographic assignments include any suspicious deaths or suicides, serious or fatal motor vehicle accidents, and major crime scenes. The police photographer also assists the department with photos of award ceremonies and other public relations events.
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The Winthrop Harbor Police Department provides comprehensive investigative services to the community through the Detective Bureau that was established as a full time unit on September 1, 1998.
The Detective Bureau is charged with the responsibility of investigating major criminal matters within the Village of Winthrop Harbor. This is accomplished by sending the Detectives to specialized training and working closely with the Patrol Division, residents, Crimestoppers, other Police Departments, and the Lake County States Attorney's office.
Investigations handle all juvenile, gang, and drug investigations. In addition, this division is also responsible for many other duties within the department. These duties include, but are not limited to the following:
Promptly notify the Police of any unusual or suspicious person, vehicle or activity you may see. Do not make assumptions about the situation. Call the Police and let us verify that the occurrence is legitimate. We will gladly respond and check it out.
Use Call Trace to help the Police prosecute offenders. If you receive a harassing or threatening phone call and you want to press formal charges, simply hang up and dial *57 (1-1-5-7 from rotary/pulse phones) immediately.
The call will be traced, and you simply listen to the recording to see if the trace was successful. Hang up and call the Police at 847-872-2131. Relay to the Dispatcher that you want to press charges against the offender for harassing phone calls. An Officer will be sent to your home to take the necessary information for a police report. Make sure you get the report number from the Officer. On the next business day, call the Annoyance Call Bureau at 1-800-346-1382 and give them your report number. The trace information will only be sent to the Police Department for action.
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Although crime prevention is the duty of every Winthrop Harbor police officer, a special unit designated in 1999 is intended to focus on the development of programs and techniques that will aid our citizens in the protection of life and property.
The unit is developing education programs for residents in the areas of child safety, physical home security and burglary deterrence, con or scam awareness and other similar programs.
Part of the division's services are programs that target certain segments or our population, such as senior citizens and the physically or mentally disabled whose circumstances may require unique types of emergency services and responses.
The special investigator in charge of the division is also the department's "Elderly Services Officer" and is responsible for the investigation of reports of neglect or abuse committed against our senior citizens. This officer also works closely with public and private social service agencies in monitoring the needs of the community's elderly population.
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The Winthrop Harbor Police Department has developed a Sex Crimes Unit to better serve the community.
In 2002 the WHPD developed a Sex Crimes Unit to better serve the community. "People have the right to know if a convicted Sex Offender is living in their area. I receive numerous phone calls and walk-in inquiries at the police department regarding growing concerns relating to a Sex Offender who lives or may be living in Winthrop Harbor," states Sgt. L. Carini.
Members of the Winthrop Harbor Police Deparment's Command Staff approved the formation of the Sex Crime Unit in 2002, which currently has (5) five Officers' assigned to the Unit. Sergeants Willets and Carini work together with Officers Markley and Grider in an effort to make certain that Sex Offenders residing, working and visiting Winthrop Harbor are in compliance with State and Federal Laws.
'One of the primary goals of the Sex Crime Unit is to maintain a safe environment for all children who reside and attend schools within the Village limits. "The SCU is just as dedicated to the protection of all Village residents, their visiting family members and friends, and the many patrons who conduct business in our area.", adds Carini.
Approx. 95% of the Sex Offenders that are currently registered with the Police Department are Child Sex Offenders. 'Residents have the right to know if a Sex Offender is living in their Village, neighborhood, and/or next door.", concurs Sgt. Willets.
The Police Departments SCU will work with other law enforcement agencies and the Lake County States Attorney's office for the overall safety and protection of the Community. "Sex offenders/Predators who reside in the Village must be identified and monitored after they register with the Police Department. However, not all Sex Offenders register with the Law Enforcement agency where they reside and/or work - as required by law," states Sgt. Willets.
The members of the Police Department continue to develop and implement new ideas that better serve and protect the residents of Winthrop Harbor. The implementation of the SCU is a direct result of this philosophy.
Residents who stop by the Police Department can obtain a current list of all Registered Sex Offenders residing in the Village of Winthrop Harbor. They can also view a much larger list of Registered Sex Offenders who live in Lake County by accessing the information through the Internet. [See our Crime Prevention page for a link to Illinois' Statewide Sex Offender Registry.]
The Winthrop Harbor Police Department's SCU may distribute flyers to residents, schools, and day care facilities who are within three blocks of where a Sex Offender resides and/or works. Under 730 ILCS 152/120 -Community Notification of Sex Offenders, law enforcement agencies are permitted to give specific information to citizens relating to individuals who were convicted of a Sex Crime.
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The Winthrop Harbor Police Department has developed a Cyber Crimes Unit to better serve the community and help protect our children from predators online.
New for 2009 the WHPD has established a Cyber Crimes Unit to better serve the community. Police Chief Joel Brumlik announced the creation of this new unit within the department on March 11th.
We currently have officers with the specialized training, experience and knowledge necessary to take this additional step to protect our residents, said Brumlik. Technology is used everyday by everyone, and criminals are no exception. Current reports indicate that the economic downturn is causing an upswing in cyber crimes, including scams, phishing attacks and identity theft, and that as high as 80% of crimes committed are using a computer or involve digital or computer evidence. The development of this unit is the next step in bringing Winthrop Harbor to the forefront of fighting and preventing cyber crimes and is a part of our ongoing cyber crime Initiative.
The Cyber Crimes Unit (CCU) will focus on a wide array of criminal activity, including Internet and computer fraud, predators who are trying to harm Winthrop Harbors children, cyber bullying, cyber stalking and other forms of computer, Internet, and electronic crimes. The unit will also work closely with federal, state and other local law enforcement, and industry members including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National White Collar Crime Consortium (NW3C) to develop, coordinate, and implement effective strategies to combat these high tech crimes.
The CCU will assist in the collection, preservation, and forensic analysis of electronic crime evidence in addition to providing support for other investigations
The CCU will also work very closely with the Winthrop Harbor Police Sex Crimes Unit, which shares a common goal to maintain a safe environment for all children who reside and attend schools within the Village limits.
The Winthrop Harbor Police Department's CCU will provide current information to residents, schools, and others through the CCU web site to help avoid internet based scams and identity theft among other topics.
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Unfortunately, violent crimes continue to rise in the United States and around the globe. Whether you watch the daily news or read a newspaper, stories of violent encounters and standoffs continue to occur in communities large and small.
The tragedy of school shootings continue to affect our communities with incidents at the Middle School, High School and College/University levels. Many lives have been lost to these senseless acts of violence, at the hands of those who prey on the innocent in our communities. Unfortunately, in most cases there are no advance warnings when these tragedies occur.
Understanding this trend, and in a proactive effort to further protect the children and residents of our Village, in 2008 the Winthrop Harbor Police Department developed its own Emergency Response Team (ERT), comprised of specially trained and certified Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) officers. The team is dedicated to a primary function of preserving and saving lives. Toward that end, all ERT officers, who otherwise work regular patrol duties for the department, accept the increased personal risks to respond to the most serious and dangerous of situations. The team's 11 members have all completed the specialized training resulting in SWAT certification. Each possesses special skills that are required to handle immediate and high-risk situations such as active-shooters, high-risk warrants, barricaded subjects, etceteras. All have committed to this specialized training in an effort to protect the citizens of our Community during these types of incidents.
It is a great benefit to the Village to have Officers trained as SWAT Operators, ready to activate during times when public safety is at risk of harm. Often times some members of the ERT are currently working their regular daily duties at the Police Department when a serious situation arises and the team must deploy. ERT members are always on-call and ready to respond whenever needed - day or night.
Since the team's inception in 2008, several deployments for barricaded and armed subjects, and high-risk warrant service, have occurred. We are pleased to report that each situation was successfully brought to a peaceful resolution. Through hard work, training and support - the Officers assigned to this special team will continue to be there for the children and residents of our Community. It is our honor to do so.
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