Fulton to put $64,000 grant toward police officer recruitment and retention

Apr. 25—FULTON, Ill. — A $64,000 grant the Fulton Police Department was awarded by the Illinois Training and Standards Board will be allocated to the recruitment and retention of officers, Chief of Police Nick Neblung told the City Council on Tuesday.

"I think this is one of the coolest parts about it," he said. "$3,000 of it is going to be used toward videography."

The videography will be made into several videos promoting the recruitment of police officers, while others from one to 10 minutes in duration will be made with the intent to encourage tourism by showcasing Fulton's distinctive features, events and experiences.

Any certified officer to join the Fulton Police Department is to get a hiring bonus of $7,000 with the grant funding. Current certified Fulton officers who commit to the Department for a proposed 18 months would be offered incentives funded by the grant as well.

Neblung said the award is to also be utilized to obtain accredited materials, a backdrop to be used at hiring events or other promotions, and a new canopy depicting the Police Department's logo.

During Tuesday's City Council meeting, Neblung also sought confirmation of the Council's support of a Community Service Officer position within the Department. If Council makes the motion to adopt the International Property Maintenance Code, a model code regulating minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings, the action would create the need of an individual trained and dedicated to the code's enforcement.

If the code is not adopted by January 1, councilmembers explained, the State will then step in conducting inspections with a third party. If the code is adopted by the first of the year, the responsibility falls on the city.

Neblung recommended that the Council adopt the code at its next meeting as suggested by Fulton mayor Wendy Ottens. Property owners within the community would then have until the middle of the year to familiarize themselves with the code's requirements and seek clarification if needed as the Police Department puts together a description of the position to be advertised around July 1 and look for the opportunity of a vehicle for the CSO as well.

The position would be a civilian position rather than that of a certified police office, Neblung said.

"In addition to zoning enforcement, the Public Safety Officer will provide essential support the both the City and our department in various capacities," he's written in a letter to Council for its support in moving forward. "This includes traffic control as needed, traffic control as needed, assistance with wide load crossings, funding of dog impounds, and transportation services as required."

The Council on Tuesday was also provided with the Police Department's quarterly report covering the months of January through March of this year.

During those months, the Fulton Police Department received 1,330 calls for service with the most reportable events stated in the report involving domestic disturbances, followed by drivers license violations, thefts, and warrants.

The Department during the first quarter of the year provided 70 EMS/fire assists, 87 mutual aid calls, performed 83 traffic stops, and issued 81 citations, warnings, and ordered violations.

Officers underwent 10.5 hours of training and cumulatively logged 133 hours of overtime.