Overview of the Normal Police Department

The Normal Police Department serves an approximately 17 square mile community of 52,497 and is staffed by 83 sworn and 30 civilian members. The divisions of Normal Police Department are as follows:


The Patrol Division of the Normal Police Department consists of five shifts that provide 24-hour, Town wide coverage. In keeping with our community policing philosophy, officers regularly provide a wide variety of services to the community. We continue to expand on the traditional roles of policing to meet the ever-growing needs of the people we serve. Patrol officers are the foundation of the Normal Police Department. They are the first to respond to any citizen's call for assistance. Community opinions of how the Department operates are often made during this first contact. The patrol officer's initial response has a far-reaching impact on the success of our mission. Although some citizens do not recognize the patrol officer's commitment to ensuring their safety, many do and tell us of their positive experience with our officers, it is the dedicated patrol officer's individual contributions that play a major role in our successful police team.


The personnel of the day shift continue to follow the principles of community policing. The officers of the 7 to 3 shift were proactive, in providing services to the citizens in the community. This was accomplished by making frequent contacts with businesses and by performing foot and bicycle patrols. Officers on the shift also worked closely with other Town departments to address individual or neighborhood concerns. Shift personnel also continued to make themselves available for presentations to groups from pre-school children to senior citizens. Our officers addressed traffic complaints and concerns by performing Selective Traffic Enforcement. Much of this activity was self-initiated, but personnel also responded to areas of Town where citizens of the community made the department aware of the need for increased enforcement efforts. School zones were also a high priority for Selective Traffic Enforcement. Officers also performed crossing guard duties at Sugar Creek Elementary School throughout most of the school year.

Efforts to detect and apprehend criminal violators remain a shift priority. This involves responding to reports of known criminal activity, investigating these incidents and making arrests when offenders were identified and located. The officers are also diligent at serving arrest warrants and summons.


The principles of Community Policing guided the activity of the second shift personnel. When possible, officer initiated activities include staffing the College Hills Mall Substation, walking beats in the business areas, conducting Citizen Police Academy presentations, providing ride-a-longs, making vacation checks, business checks and performing bike patrols.

We expanded our Community Policing efforts by dedicating an officer to the West Orlando Avenue area, holding meetings to allow residents to voice their concerns as well as provide them with information.

The 3-11 shift officers engage in pro-active law enforcement by seeking out crime prevention opportunities, providing special patrols for appropriate circumstances and continuing to detect and apprehend violators, both criminal and traffic. Officers on the 3-11 Shift continued to provide gang suppression and drug interdiction in high crime areas. Marked and unmarked patrol cars are assigned to address these concerns. Officers from the Shift often assisted the Drug Unit with drug investigations and provided the Unit useful leads.


Comprised mostly of newer officers, the 11-7 shift is a very productive and highly motivated shift. Much of the activity on third shift is self-initiated by the officers. Examples of activities are: traffic and pedestrian stops, business and vacation checks, serving arrest warrants, DUI investigations and enforcing City Ordinances.

In the warmer months, bicycle patrols enhance the shifts effectiveness in enforcing drug and alcohol violations and addressed loud parties. Plain clothes details and foot patrols were also utilized for this purpose. The 11-7 shift combat gang activity through high visibility, proactive patrol and intelligence gathering.

Through business checks, bike patrols, vacation checks and meeting with residents on problems in their neighborhood, the officers work hard to gain the trust and confidence of the public and maintain a partnership with the community.


The 6-4 shift engages in pro-active policing. We encourage safe driving and compliance with liquor codes by maintaining an aggressive law enforcement posture, Officers enforce alcohol related ordinance violations while participating in Party Audits, Liquor Compliance Audits and Ordinance Violation Sweeps.

The principles of Community Policing were a high priority for the 6-4 shift personnel. Officer-initiated activities include walking beats in business areas, business checks and bike patrols.
Officers on the shift continued to provide gang suppression and drug interdiction through high visibility patrols in marked squads. We also conduct covert patrols with bike officers, plain-clothes foot patrols, and patrols with unmarked cars.


The Front Desk coordinates walk in and telephone complaints. Desk personal (Police Service Representatives) also control and monitor electric lock doors into the facility. PSR's have varied duties ranging from assigning reports to registering sex offenders.


To address the concern for the unlawful use and sale of drugs and crimes associated with drugs, a drug unit was formed in mid-May of 1999. The primary responsibility is to conduct covert investigations into the sale of illegal narcotics. The unit also assists the Department's Patrol, Criminal Investigations Division and other area drug units.

The unit attempts to focus on areas of known or suspected drug problems. Information on such areas is brought to the Unit's attention from other police officers, arrestees, and
concerned citizens.

Due to their covert nature, interns are not typically assigned to the unit. Interns may request an appointment with the unit supervisors to discuss its operation.


The Department continues to conduct follow up investigations on reported domestic violence cases with a full-time Domestic Violence Investigator who provides services to victims of domestic violence with the assistance of a victim advocate and remains a domestic violence liaison to the McLean County States Attorney Office and other law enforcement agencies in the area.


Two highly trained full-service Police K-9’s and their handlers assist our Patrol Division, our Vice Unit, Bloomington Police Department, McLean County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State University Police Department, and the Illinois State Police. The unit conducts vehicle searches, building searches, suspect tracking, area searches, and article searches.
The largest numbers of canine calls-for-service were for vehicle searches. At the request of area schools, the Unit conducts school searches. The unit also conducts K-9 presentations far organizations such as Unit 5 Schools, the Humane Society, and the Citizen Police Academy.


The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) is comprised of eleven officers specially trained and prepared to deal effectively with unusual and unexpected police situations. ERU team members spend time each month training to handle high-risk situations. These situations include, but are not limited to, felony narcotics search warrants, hostage situations and/or barricaded subjects. Officers receive advanced firearms training as well as ground fighting and tactical covert operations training.

 The Unit spends a considerable amount of time training for situations that could arise in our schools. Officers spend time getting familiar with the layout of each school in our community and take part in training scenarios.


The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is committed to the prevention of crime, the protection of life and property, and the preservation of peace, order and safety. The officers assigned to CID respond to problems and actively seek solutions through both traditional and innovative methods of police/citizen interaction.

The functions and activities of the Criminal investigation Division include, but are not limited to:

  1. Investigation of criminal cases
  2. Crime scene processing and storage of evidence
  3. Maintenance of criminal intelligence files
  4. Grand jury testimony for the entire department

The Criminal Investigations Division is organized into seven major sections. Each section is assigned specific task/responsibilities that contribute to the over-all mission of the Normal Police Department.

General Investigations: The cases that are investigated by the detectives primarily include: internal thefts, sexual assaults, burglaries, disorderly conduct cases and batteries. Detectives assigned to the specific sections described below may also assist with general investigations periodically. The CID Supervisor reviews the daily activity reports and assigns those cases that have a potential of being solved. In situations where a case requires specialized skill or knowledge, the investigator who possesses the specific training or expertise is assigned.

Intelligence Analyst: This section has the task of collecting, analyzing and disseminating intelligence that is received through various sources. The main source of intelligence is from the field officers who document contacts with known criminals and gang members. Another source of intelligence information is from citizens who want to report suspected criminal activity in their neighborhood.

Patrol officers also receive information from individuals with whom they come in contact. Field Contact cards are used to record the information. These cards are analyzed for information and value. After review, the information is distributed to officers in a Crime Bulletin.

Evidence/Property: The section currently has one Departmental Evidence Manager/Evidence Technician. Evidence technicians assist the officers in evidence recovery at crime scenes. When processing a crime scene, the technicians document their actions, package all items of evidence collected at the scene, document the items, store the items of evidence and send the packaged items of evidence to the crime lab for further analysis. Evidence technicians usually process crime scenes involving burglary, robbery, theft and criminal sexual assault. Evidence they may discover at the scene includes latent prints, hair fibers, tool marks, blood spatter, and instruments used in the commission of the crime.

Financial Crimes Investigator: This section has the primary task of investigating financial crimes involving deceptive practice, forgery, credit card fraud and counterfeiting. This Detective is a member of the Financial Institutions Security Association (F.I.S.A.) of McLean County. He attends monthly meetings where the members of the institutions and investigators from the local police departments share information regarding individuals who are suspected of being involved in criminal activity in the financial community.

School Resource Officer: The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program is a school based, community policing concept designed to promote positive relationships with today's youth. In addition to assisting the counselors with law-related issues, these officers conduct classroom presentations, assist Deans and School Administrators with the investigation of criminal incidents and are involved in community programs such as Operation Cool, the Youth Impact, Inc., the Powers Program, and Juvenile Court Services' Early Intervention Program.

Juvenile Division: The function of the Juvenile Division is to divert offenders from the juvenile justice system by preventing and controlling delinquent acts committed by youths. This goal is accomplished by counseling juvenile offenders, conducting station adjustments, providing referrals to juvenile services, and implementing programs intended to decrease criminal activity. 

The main responsibilities require investigation of an array of criminal activities committed by or against juveniles in our community. Some of these duties include: investigating any reports alleging child abuse or sexual abuse; interviewing juveniles in custody for serious offenses; interviewing juveniles who are the victims of a serious crime; conducting follow up investigation on reports involving juveniles and verifying that sex offenders residing in the Town of Normal are in compliance with mandatory reporting laws.


 During the past eleven years, the Normal Police Department has expanded the involvement of community members in community-based crime prevention efforts by offering a Citizen Police Academy. The Citizen Police Academy provides a mechanism for educating the public about the criminal justice system. The main goals of the academy are to partner with the community, explain the operations of the police department, and encourage citizens to undertake measures to prevent them from becoming crime victims. Typically, police personnel conduct the classes, which include: Investigations, Explosives, Hostage Negotiations, and Firearms, Self-Defensive, Narcotics, Street Gangs, Crime Scenes and Traffic stops. Participants also tour our Police Facility as well as the McLean County Jail, Juvenile Detention Center and METCOM the countywide 9-1-1 center. Each participant in the program is also encouraged to participate in ride-a-longs with patrol officers.

 Academy participants gain an understanding of police procedures that are more reflective of everyday police work than what is portrayed by the media. They also learn how they can help to make their community crime-free. Participants become sources for new ideas as we learn from them in the process of teaching.

 Our Citizen Police Academy (CPA) also provides an avenue for Normal Police to learn about the concerns of community members. It encourages police interaction with the public, which can augment police job satisfaction and provide a measure of accountability to the community; The "Parking Ambassador" program is a community policing effort. CPA alumni are compensated by the Town and provide courtesy assistance in monitoring public streets, which typically have chronic parking problems during special events taking place in the community. Their role is to provide information to the motoring public about locations where they may legally park. Since ambassadors have no enforcement powers, if they receive a complaint from an area resident about an illegally parked vehicle and/or a hazardous situation, they contact the police department for assistance. You can recognize our Parking Ambassadors by their bright gold polo shirts with PARKING AMBASSADOR on the back and Normal Police Department Citizen Police Academy Alumni on the front.


 Law Enforcement Accreditation is a voluntary, ongoing process the Normal Police Department has chosen to participate in. The process involves self-assessment of agency policies and procedures, application for accreditation and periodic review of agency operations by assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). CALEA was formed in 1979 to establish a body of standards designed to increase law enforcement agency capabilities:

  1. To prevent and control crime;
  2. Increase agency effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of law enforcement services;
  3. Increase cooperation and coordination with other law enforcement agencies and with other agencies of the criminal justice system;
  4. Increase citizen and employee confidence in the goals, objectives, policies, and practices of the agency.

In addition, the Commission was formed to develop the accreditation process. The Normal Police Department was accredited in 1994. Being the only accredited municipal policy agency in central Illinois is a great distinction for the Normal Police Department. Maintaining our accredited status demonstrates the professional and progressive philosophy and practices of the members of the Department. The Normal Police Department is proud to continue this program and proud to be an accredited agency.


The Normal Police Department, in conjunction with the Town's Legal and Inspection Departments works with residents in addressing neighborhood complaints. As a group, the Town has been successful in creating safer and more enjoyable neighborhoods by working with the neighbors and assisting them in working together on issues. The committee meets on an as needed basis. We have worked with over a dozen neighborhoods in the last two years.


The Police Department started the Twin Cities Landlord/Tenant Program in 1998. This partnership between the Department and area Landlords/Tenants has created a safer and more enjoyable living environment for many of our citizens. The program assists landlords in attracting quality tenants while maintaining well-managed rental properties.

In cooperation with representatives from the Bloomington Police Department, McLean County Apartment Association and the Illinois Attorney General's Office, This program is responsible for training area landlords, property managers and owners on such topics as: attracting quality tenants, background checks and keeping their property drug and crime free. Nearly 200 landlords and property managers have been trained in this program.


 The Community Service Coordinator has the responsibility for seeing that requests from citizens for community services are staffed. This office has assisted in assigning police officers to fill requests for police speakers for several groups and local schools. Another responsibility of the Coordinator is to process all requests to hold police related special events in Normal. Processing requests consist of organizing, staffing and coordinating the event with other Town Departments to insure the safe conclusion of the event. The CSC's duties also include managing of the Department's contractual agreements for special police services. In addition, the CSC is responsible for writing and distributing the monthly Neighborhood Watch Block Captain Newsletter.

  • Recruiting: The scheduling and coordination of the Department's recruitment activities is another responsibility of this Unit.
  • Neighborhood Watch: The Community Services Coordinator is responsible for writing and distributing the quarterly newsletter to all neighborhood watch block captains.
  • Other Activities: In cooperation with Menard's Home Center, the Department continues to provide our Door Viewer Program. This program is designed for any resident homeowner who desires additional security, but is limited by resources or abilities. We also implemented a home security program this past year that includes a security and safety check of the residence.

State law requiring owners of firearms to lock up their weapons, if children under 14 years of age reside in the home or frequently visit the home, became effective this year. In an effort to assist our residents in complying with the law and to protect the safety of children, the Department and the McLean County Sportsman's Association entered into a joint program to provide two trigger locks to any citizen who owns a firearm.


 The Juvenile Unit is committed to the development and implementation of programs to prevent and control delinquency and control behavior among youth. The local school district and the Juvenile Unit are partners in a School Resource Officer (SRO) Program.  The SROs are based in the four secondary schools to assure a variety of levels of interaction including class presentations; meetings with parents, teachers or students; attendance at extracurricular activities; as well as support for disciplinary events.  They may also act as a liaison with the Alternative Schools or Court Services.


The Records Division is responsible for the administration and maintenance of all departmental records, as well as security and disposition of evidence. All criminal histories, arrest records and related information are maintained within the division. The Records Division works closely with officers and investigators providing needed information on crimes, criminal suspects, and other information useful for neighborhood problem solving.