Galesburg, IL (September 30, 2021) On Wednesday, September 29, I went to Pizza Ranch in Galesburg for a Chief's Corner. I had the chance to have a lot of conversations with people about their concerns and thoughts regarding our community. While many issues were discussed, there were some common themes that came up as well.
Several people had concerns regarding speeding and other unsafe driving habits. These kinds of problems have been brought up by citizens from all areas of town. Speeding is one of the main contributors to vehicle crashes and injuries. We all need to keep this in mind and watch our speed.
I had discussions regarding addiction and substance abuse. This is a huge problem in our country and Galesburg is not immune. When talking about this, I emphasized that the police have an important role to play in addressing this issue, but as a society, we are not going to "arrest" our way out of the addiction epidemic. We as the police are going to work hard to arrest those that are selling drugs and victimizing the most vulnerable in our population. We are also working with partners in government, and the medical community to try to come up with comprehensive ways to address addiction issues to provide more effective and permanent solutions.
I had a wonderful conversation with a young 5th-grade Lombard student named Brooklyn. I was so impressed with how smart she was and the depth of her understanding of some complicated societal issues. Brooklyn was explaining to me how some of the students at her school did not behave properly or make good choices. She told me that she knew in many cases this was because some of her classmates did not have proper role models in the home to teach them. Brooklyn talked about how important the role of parents is in raising and teaching their children. She was a very impressive young lady.
I talked with a husband and wife who foster at-risk kids. I think they told me in all they had nine. These kids come from homes that suffer from domestic violence, substance abuse, and sexual abuse. These examples go right back to the issues that Brooklyn was talking about. We talked about what role the police can play in providing a positive example to these young people who have no one in their corner to help them be successful. We discussed possibly partnering with local foster agencies to have a summer picnic for foster kids to have lunch with police officers so they can learn that the police are their friends and someone they can rely on if they are scared or need help.
I would like to thank everyone that took some time out of their dinner to share in some conversations. I enjoyed talking with everyone and I learn a little something every day.
Russell L. Idle, Chief of Police
Galesburg Police Department