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updated: 1/6/2013 4:48 PM

Congrats to Aurora on murder-free milestone

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Sometimes, no news is good news.

So this is a case of great news.

Aurora, the state's second largest city, marked a great milestone last week: The city went an entire calendar year without a murder for the first time since 1946, when the city had just 48,000 people.

For a city now nearing 200,000, that is quite an achievement for its people and police department.

City leaders also point to a drop in major crimes.

According to the city, Aurora grew by 55,000 people from 2000 to 2010, but the major crime rate decreased from 42.1 to 22.1 major crimes per 1,000 people.

Officials say the drop in violent crime and murders -- there were 26 homicides in 2002, a pace of more than two a month -- was the result of the combined efforts of community partnerships, working with other agencies such as the FBI, and diligent city employees and residents.

"We have found that there is no single program that will reduce violence, but instead we need to tackle crime on all fronts," Police Chief Greg Thomas said.

Find out what police do: The St. Charles Police Department is accepting applications for its annual citizen's police academy, which will meet 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays March 5 through April 30.

The academy is aimed at giving residents a better understanding of how the department operates.

It is free and open to St. Charles residents, property and business owners, along with approved juniors and seniors from St. Charles high schools.

Applications are due Feb. 26, and can be picked up at the department, 211 N. Riverside Ave., or downloaded from the city's website.

Congrats in DeKalb: Thomas McCulloch, a former Interim Kane County Public Defender, has shed the interim label.

But it's not in Kane County, where he also spent decades as an assistant public defender.

McCulloch recently edged out 11 other candidates to be appointed the DeKalb County Public Defender.

McCulloch, a retired U.S. Navy Officer who has practiced law since 1976, had served as interim defender in DeKalb since August 2012 after Regina Harris resigned to go into private practice.

McCulloch will start his new position this week.

He also served as Interim Kane County Public Defender after David Kliment was appointed as a judge in 2010.

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