Sycamore police now accredited by state law enforcement program

Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters and Sergeant Stacy Binkowski stand alongside Lemont Police Chief Marc Maton and Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program lead assessor Joel Givens, after Sycamore Police was presented with a tier one accreditation by Maton and Givens during a Sycamore City Council meeting on June 17, 2024.

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Police Department this week became one of 61 departments in Illinois with tier one accreditation under the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.

That program, known as ILEAP, helps police departments save on insurance costs and reduce liability risk, according to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Village of Lemont Police Chief Marc Maton presented a plaque recognizing the accreditation to Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters during Monday’s Sycamore City Council meeting. Maton commended Sycamore police for achieving the tier one accreditation and said he thinks the achievement should reflect well on the department.

“It’s really a demonstration to the broader community that the department’s following national best practices, and policies and procedures,” Maton said.

Joel Givens, a retired deputy chief from the Rockford Police Department who serves as lead assessor for the program, attended the City Council meeting and said the department was deserving of the tier one status.

A total of 69 different standards are required to gain tier one accreditation – which Sycamore just received – and 181 are required for tier two accreditation, according to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Winters said he believes gaining accreditation can be a difficult task for police departments, especially as Illinois police agencies have learned the nuances of the SAFE-T Act – which introduced a cashless bail system and substantially changed law enforcement procedures. The SAFE-T Act portion of the Pretrial Fairness Act went into effect in September.

“I think it really reflects the professionalism of our agency, the fact we have adopted best practices and also we maintain standards that are in the best interest of the city and the citizens of Sycamore,” Winters said.

Winters said Sycamore Police Sgt. Stacy Binkowski is the reason the department received the accreditation. Binkowski offered a modest take on her work, however. She said the data she compiled to gain the accreditation came from other Sycamore law enforcement officers and workers.

“All I’m doing is collecting the data, the reports and information that’s generated by our sworn officers and civilian staff,” Binkowski said. “It’s really a citywide effort that just proves what I already know: That our department has a good foundation, we know what we’re doing, we try to do our best, and we’re always willing to change and adapt if we need to.”

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