The Elgin Police Department was selected among eight finalists for an international award because of its success in reducing motor vehicle burglaries throughout the city.
More than 100 law enforcement agencies submitted applications for the IACP/Thomson Reuters Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigation given by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
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Elgin posted a 20 percent reduction in motor vehicle burglaries in 2013, which also marked a 20-year low for the city.
Cmdr. Ana Lalley said the department implemented various techniques to achieve that, including an "If you like it, lock it" public awareness campaign, using predictive policing software, allowing residents to register their valuables online, and encouraging residents to report crime via text message, online, and via Facebook
Lalley also pointed to the department's "career offender program," whose investigative techniques focus on repeat burglary offenders.
"Really good police work is what it boils down to," she said.
The award "honors departments that use both street smarts and cutting edge science to ensure that investigations are done right and done in a timely fashion as well," said John Firman, IACP's director of research, programs, and professional services division.
The other finalists are the California Highway Patrol-Orange County Auto Theft Task Force, Halton Regional Police Service, Maryland Transit Administration Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Pasadena Independent School District Police Department, Queensland Police Service, and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigations.
"For us to be included in agencies that are of that caliber, I think it says something about us here and what we're doing," Lalley said. "Just to be a finalist, we're obviously very proud of that."
The winner and two runners-up will be selected in October at the IACP's annual conference.
Last year's award winner was the juvenile justice division, community affairs bureau of the New York City Police Department.