Chesterton Tribune



Bailly Principal Zeck thanks Chesterton Police for relationship building visits

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Four years ago, Chesterton Police Chief Dave Cincoski issued a standing directive to his day-shift officers: whenever possible, and as often as possible, they are to “get out of their cars and visit one of the schools in town.”

Four years later, parents of students at Bailly Elementary, West-chester Intermediate, Chesterton Middle School, and Chesterton High School have long since grown accustomed to seeing CPD officers in the halls and classrooms early in the day, smiling and joking, shaking hands, saying hey to the kids, making their presence known not as enforcers of the law but rather as protectors of the community.

It’s hardly a stretch for them: many of the officers’ own children go to school in Chesterton.

The effort, as Cincoski noted at last week’s Police Commission meeting, has “taken off more than I would have ever dreamed.”

The occasion of Cincoski’s comment: a letter of gratitude from Bailly Principal Kevin Zeck.

Excerpts from that letter:

“More than anything, I want to thank you for your continued presence in our schools. Our students know and welcome your officers on a regular basis. I often witness CPD conversing with students, enjoying fellowship with my staff, and building strong relationships. CPD is trusted and respected in our building by all who attend here. Our parents comment on the presence and visibility of the cars parked out front. We willingly answer questions about their presence here and can visibly see parents at ease with their being here so frequently. It not only demonstrates a commitment to safety but also emboldens a sense of community.

“Last spring, Officer Joe (Lt. Joe Christian) make a commitment to regular classroom visits for our kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. The time is so valuable to our students. They are getting to know a law enforcement official on a personal level, further removing the misplaced stereotypes that seem to be too prevalent on national television. Students feel very comfortable with him and ask him a multitude of questions. It is profoundly reassuring to see his relationship with our students. . . .

“I realize that national events have turned the conversation regarding partnerships like ours in a negative tone. Earlier this year, I sat in disbelief as communities turned on police officers. I repeatedly kept saying to myself, ‘This is not our community and this is not the relationship we have with those who keep us safe.’ I am personally grateful for our partnership and the safety provided to our school and community by the CPD.”

With Gratitude

The commission took receipt of several other thank-you notes as well at its meeting:

* From the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, for the CPD’s work in controlling traffic during the colossal trick-or-treat in the Downtown on Oct. 28. “That was big,” Member Pete Duda observed. “That was borderline huge.” The CPD itself, Cincoski noted, “went through 4,000 pieces of candy,” and next year he added that he will consider pushing the road closures “even further back.”

* Also from the Chamber, for the CPD’s work again in controlling traffic during the Hometown Holiday Celebration on Thanksgiving Saturday.

* From Frontline Foundations Inc., for the CPD’s work during the Hooked on Art festival in September. “Thanks again for your support surrounding the annual Hooked on Art festival,” wrote Tricia Lahey. “The extra time you and your officers provided was appreciated by all of those involved with the event.”

Duneland Exchange Club donation

Meanwhile, members expressed their gratitude to the Duneland Exchange Club for its donation of $500 to the CFD Gift Fund, to be used for the purchase of puncture resistant gloves.

Hiring Update

Cincoski, for his own part, gave members an update on the hiring process: a total of 29 applications were requested by interested parties; 20 candidates reported for agility testing late in November; and of those 15 passed and completed a written examination.

The commission will interview an unspecified number of those 15 early in the New Year, in an executive session not yet scheduled.

Currently the CPD is not hiring but the names of the top candidates, after interviews have been conducted, will be placed on a short-list for any hiring needs in 2017-18.

November in Review

The CPD responded to 721 calls in November (663 in October), filed 70 cases (53), issued 82 citations and 116 warnings (50 and 104), and investigated 29 accidents with two injuries (29 accidents with three injuries).

Calls for service in November included three reports of shoplifting (zero in October); 84 suspicious persons or vehicles (93); eight thefts (20); 47 alarms (43); three incidents of vandalism (one); two overdoses (one); three animal complaints (five); 248 traffic stops (205); 15 well-being checks (13); two missing persons (zero); seven reports of battery (three); one burglary (two attempted burglaries); 25 disturbances (17); seven reports of fraud (three); two motor vehicle thefts (zero); two reports of sexual assault (one); one vehicle repossession (zero); one robbery (zero); and two runaways (five).


Posted 12/13/2016




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