We've all seen fingerprint dusting and armored vehicles on TV, but it's not often you get the chance to see that in person.
The Elgin Police Department is hosting its first community outreach program Saturday at The Centre of Elgin, where residents can meet police officers and ask any question they can think of, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said.
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"It's really to kind of pull the curtain back from the police department," he said. "This one we're really billing as, 'Ask any questions you've got, any concerns you have -- anything you've always wanted to know about the police department.' "
About 15 to 20 officers of different ranks, including Swoboda, will be in attendance, the chief said.
The department routinely hosts open houses, but this will be a larger event, comprising pretty much every police unit and program -- including the gang and K-9 units, the resident officer program, the tactical response team, and much more.
There will be plenty of hands-on demonstrations, including how evidence is collected, and tests using goggles that simulate the effect of driving under the influence. A robot with cameras and an armored vehicle used by the tactical response team will be on display.
Parents can get information about the Kids United summer program, and the Explorer program for people 14 to 20. Parents can have their kids fingerprinted and learn how to save their DNA samples, Swoboda said.
Anyone interested in becoming a police officer or dispatcher can schedule a ride-along in a police car, or a time to observe a dispatcher on the job, he said.
Also, residents can talk to police about specific issues or problems they are having, Swoboda said.
"If you have a problem with a potential drug house, for example, you can go over and talk with the special investigations division," he said.
The event was spearheaded by the Elgin Police Citizens Advisory Committee. The group recently had an influx of new members and now comprises about 15 people, committee member Carl Missele said.
"We're hoping to introduce ourselves to the community," he said. "We're really trying to be ambassadors to the people that we represent."
The community outreach program is 12 to 3 p.m. in the Heritage Ballroom of The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, For more information call Lt. Jeff Adam at (847) 289-2531.