Willow Springs PD patch

Willow Springs PD patch

Willow Springs police release year in review report

By Carol McGowan

Willow Springs Police Chief Jim Ritz recently released the department’s 2021 Year in Review Report.

The report, which was presented to Mayor Melissa Neddermeyer and the Willow Springs Village Board, is an overview of the programs, activities, accomplishments, and statistics that highlight their achievements last year.

In the report, Ritz stated that 2021 and the pandemic presented some unprecedented challenges not just to the police department, but to village residents.

“Despite these challenges, the members of the Willow Springs Police Department
incessantly served our community with professionalism and compassion,” Ritz said. “As a department, we commit to embracing the highest standards of professional policing excellence and being transparent with those we serve. We encourage and support the exchange of information with our community in order to coordinate further department activities and continue to foster our community prevention and awareness programs.”

Ritz stated that the department is committed to serve in a professional manner, and their crime prevention and community-oriented policing initiatives begin with the residents of Willow Springs, who are active in their neighborhoods and communicating with the force.

“Our officers will always do their best to try and take the time to interact with our residents, engage citizens in positive ways, and strive to provide the highest quality of services that are expected and deserved,” he said.

“As police chief, I take great pride in our department’s commitment to excellence in law enforcement
and our continuous delivery of professional services to the Village of Willow Springs. We share that
common perspective with our community in continually building our community partnerships that focus
on those who compromise our safety and our quality of life in our village. We will remain to be a “safety
conscious” community while being devoted to achieving our mission through the continued support of
our residents.”

The WSPD has a new department patch, designed by department personnel. It symbolizes the history of the department and village, the American flag, and the thin blue line colors in support of law enforcement.

Other highlights are:

  • After a year-and-a-half mission of working with the Department of Justice and the
    federal Drug Enforcement Agency our department was proud to accomplish our
    goal of again regaining full “Eligibility” status with the Equitable Sharing Program of the
    Department of Justice. Due to mismanagement and improper use of funds by previous
    administrations, our department was placed on a permanent “Ineligibility” status and
    unable to receive any federal funding or federal grant award consideration – this was a
    great, great, great department accomplishment.
    • COVID Emergency Crisis Plan Policies were established to plan for mitigation and
    emergency response compliance, which created new department protocols in order to
    mitigate the spread of COVID-19 virus throughout the department. The department
    maintained and acquired the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including
    face masks, protective gloves, hand sanitizer, vital disinfecting equipment, and personal
    temperature thermometers.
    • By continuous review, and maintaining up-to-date Policies and Procedures, our
    department met all the requirements of the Federal Use of Force Policy and Reporting
    Act as adopted and signed by our past pro-law enforcement President of the United
    States of America. Our Use of Force Policy was reviewed, submitted, and approved
    through the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. As a department, we are proud to
    say we were approved on our first policy submission, because our Use of Force Policies
    and Guidelines were current and in accordance with all newly enacted state and federal
    requirements.
    • Revised numerous existing policies to meet the newly established changes to State of
    Illinois statutes in accordance with the newly enacted anti-law enforcement SAFE-T act.
    • Implemented and adopted several new policies related to Cybersecurity and responding
    to Cybersecurity Critical Incidents in accordance with all Criminal Justice Information
    Services (CJIS) and LEADS required mandates.
    • Promotion of two department Corporals to the rank of Sergeant
    • Promotion of one police officer to the supervisory rank of Corporal
    • Hiring of one new full-time police officer
    • Criminal Investigations Unit conducted several major investigations culminating in
    arrests, and/or arrest warrants being issued for of a number of offenders involved in
    serious felony and misdemeanor cases.
    • We started our first ever Child Protective Safety Technician Community Program with
    our newly certified officer.
    • Worked hand-in-hand with our local schools to participate and oversee their state
    mandated active shooter training drills.
    • Put into operation a new Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Team for our certified evidence
    technicians (ET) for processing our crime scenes.
    • Became a member of the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team (SMART).
    • Purchased through equitable sharing funds — at no cost to the village — a new
    department unmanned air system “Department Drone” which is a tremendous and
    valuable department resource.
    • Participated in the Special Olympics Illinois Coffee for Champions Event and raised over
    $6,700.
    • The Willow Springs Police Department teamed up with the Justice Police Department to
    take part in the Special Olympics Plane Pull event at O’Hare airport. Team Willow
    Springs/Justice was the second largest fundraiser team in the event raising almost
    $6,000 — thank YOU for your support of our efforts.
    • Attendance in very valuable training sponsored by the National Center for Missing and
    Exploited Children (NCMEC).
    • Started a new partnership with the Crisis Center for South Suburbia and their Domestic
    Violence Advocacy Program.
    • Hosted our 3rd Annual Shop-With-A-Cop event that was a tremendous success.
    • All full-time police officers being certified in Crisis Intervention Training
    • Executed a successful Emergency Operations Plan for the annual four-day WillowFest
    event.
    • Presented a Department Commendation at a Village Board meeting to our Special
    Olympics Team Captain Matt Szeszycki.
    • Special thanks to Police Chaplain, Al Hernandez, who works with many police agencies,
    for donating so many brand new Christmas Toys for those who attended the first ever
    Willow Springs Winterfest, which was attended by so many – thank you.

Congratulations and special recognition went to department personnel:

  • Corporal Bob Jennings in celebrating his 20-year anniversary of service to the Willow
    Springs Police Department.
    • Sergeant Jerry Jelinek on achieving his 15-year anniversary with the department.
    • Promotions of Corporals Jerry Jelinek and Michael Jurak to the supervisory rank of
    Sergeant.
    • Police Officer Ed McKinney being promoted to the supervisory rank of corporal.

The full report can be found on the Village of Willow Springs website.

Local News

Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel tested in win over Brother Rice

By Steve Millar Correspondent After Mount Carmel beat each of its first five opponents by 24 points or more, senior quarterback Blainey Dowling thinks it is good the Caravan had to fight to the end against an upset-minded Brother Rice team. Dowling ran for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown with 1:58 left to lift Mount Carmel…

In just its second year as a team, St. Laurence's girls golfers won a regional title. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: St. Laurence golfers make history

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer   That didn’t take long. The St. Laurence girls golf program is in only its second year of existence but last weekend celebrated a major accomplishment. Coach Jim Tracy’s troops won the Providence Catholic Class 1A Regional by four strokes, logging a 372 to edge University High (Chicago), which finished…

SXU coach Mike Feminis reacts as the final horn goes off as he earns his 200th career win in a thriller over 18th-ranked Roosevelt. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier tops Roosevelt in thriller, gets Feminis career win No. 200

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer Saint Xavier coach Mike Feminis was gunning for his 200th career victory, but it looked more like he might be tagged with his 78th career loss. After wasting a 14-point halftime lead, the Cougars found themselves down six in the closing minute of the Homecoming game Oct. 1 at Bruce…

Orland firefighters show how they extinguish a burning building. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Community turns out to salute Orland firefighters at open house

Nearly 500 people attended an open house hosted by the Orland Fire Protection District on Saturday that featured an up-close look at the techniques firefighters use to respond to emergencies. Demonstrations by firefighters included a rope rescue showing how individuals can be rescued from apartment buildings; the dive team demonstrated how they can rescue individuals from…

recycling logo

Palos Township hosts recycling event Saturday

Palos Township and the Cook County Sheriff’s Recycling Program are holding a paper, electronics and drug recycling event on Saturday, October 1, at Township Hall, 10802 S. Roberts Road in Palos Hills. Township residents only are eligible to bring paper for shredding, electronics for recycling and unwanted or expired drugs for proper disposal from 9…

Livia Mitre, 9, of Beverly, was happy to be a part of Lake Katherine's Monarch Celebration.

Butterflies are king at Lake Katherine Monarch Celebration

By Kelly White Kicking off the fall season with a festival dedicated to the beautiful Monarch butterfly was Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanical Garden. The nature center, located at 7402 Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights, held its 29th annual Monarch Celebration, on Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25. Originally called a Monarch Butterfly…

Jerome Fears and his distinctive deformed hand. (Supplied photo)

Warrant issued for man wanted in attempted Oak Lawn carjacking

An arrest warrant has been issued for one of four men suspected of being involved in an armed carjacking in Oak Lawn that took place April 18 near the intersection of 99th Place and Minnick Avenue. Jerome D. Fears Jr., 20, of Chicago, is wanted for the attempted vehicular hijacking that happened in the early…

Orland Park Trustee Cynthis Katsenes voted "yes" to recreation fee hikes but said fees for non-resident using the aquatic center should be higher. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Recreation fees going up in Orland Park

By Jeff Vorva Prices for sports and activities will be going up in Orland Park. The village’s board of trustees voted Sept. 19 to increase fees for Sportplex’s open gyms, athletic fields and Centennial Park Aquatic Center membership and daily fees. Village officials cite rising costs of labor, materials, supplies, services and improvements for the…

A Spirit Halloween store is now open at 11185 W. Lincoln Highway in Frankfort. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: Halloween stores are in full swing

By Bob Bong Frost is in the air, pumpkin spice is everywhere and spooky decorations have exploded in front yards across the Southland, which means it’s time for the seasonal Halloween stores to start popping up like zombies from the boneyard. Spirit Halloween, a seasonal retailer that operates in empty storefronts in the weeks leading up…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by two former state legislators who sued for back pay they believed they were due for raises that they voted against while in office. Former Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and former Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, argued…

Illinois takes Equal Rights Amendment to appeals court

Illinois takes Equal Rights Amendment to appeals court

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Attorneys for the state of Illinois joined their colleagues in Nevada and Virginia Wednesday in asking a federal appellate court to declare that the Equal Rights Amendment has been legally ratified as the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “I have a daughter who intends to…

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces further unemployment debt repayment

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces further unemployment debt repayment

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced a plan Tuesday, Sept. 27, to reduce a $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit by $450 million through an infusion of unemployment-related revenues. The trust fund is the pool of money paid into by employers to provide a social safety net for unemployed individuals. The employer’s insurance premiums…

State to reduce $1.8 billion federal unemployment debt by $450 million

State to reduce $1.8 billion federal unemployment debt by $450 million

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced a plan Tuesday to reduce a $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit by $450 million through an infusion of unemployment-related revenues. The trust fund is the pool of money paid into by employers to provide a social safety net for unemployed…

Capitol News Illinois to expand operations with $2 million McCormick Foundation grant

Capitol News Illinois to expand operations with $2 million McCormick Foundation grant

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Capitol News Illinois will significantly expand its operations as it enters the fifth year of operations in 2023 because of a significant grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The McCormick Foundation has announced a three-year, $2 million investment in Capitol News Illinois, a nonprofit news organization that provides…

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday to three felony counts stemming from an alleged bribery scheme involving a red light camera company. Jones, 44, is a Chicago Democrat who has served in the Senate since 2009. He is also the…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by two former state legislators who sued for back pay they believed they were due for raises that they voted against while in office. Former Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and former Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, argued…

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III has been charged in federal court with three criminal counts tied to his dealings with a red light camera company. Jones, a Chicago Democrat, is the son of former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. The younger Jones has served in the Senate since 2009…

DVN Damar Kaminski Funeral Home House Ad
SWNH Ameri Corp House Ad