The Chicago police chief plans to tackle crime, diversity and community engagement if he is elected as NIU’s chief of police.
DeKalb Roderick Robinson, a 26-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, plans to prioritize community engagement if he is selected to be the next NIU Chief of Police.
The Chicago police chief helped reduce the crime rate in Englewood by 12% when he served as a district commander in Chicago’s 7th District. Robinson hopes to implement similar crime-reducing tactics at the NIU.
“It’s a proven fact that you can’t stop your way out of trouble,” Robinson said. “But I believe that through the positive engagement of officers working with the community, we can achieve this effect and make it a safer environment and a truly authentic learning environment.”
Robinson said he wants to give students a voice and listen to their concerns. Robinson also wants to prioritize a firm date for students to have talks with the NIU Police Department. He wants NIU students to trust the NIU Police Department. This can be achieved through daily conversations or planned activities such as karaoke or pizza with the police, Robinson said.
“I want to have a relationship with you and we can have that conversation not just when something goes wrong, but when something is good as well,” Robinson said.
With off-campus neighborhoods like Greek Row on Hillcrest seen by residents as more crime in DeKalb, Robinson said he’s working with other police departments in the area like DeKalb Police, Chicago Police and Illinois State Police.
“We want to make sure that every district and community around this campus is equally policing,” Robinson said.
Robinson wants to make sure needs are assessed, and that way there can be a solution to the problem both on and off campus.
NIU Police are phasing out emergency blue light call boxes, and are replacing them with the NIU Safe app. With NIU Safe app downloads below the number of enrolled students, Robinson wants to assess what works and what doesn’t.
“We want to build on the successes,” Robinson said. “We want to take this to another level in terms of safety and the environment.”
Diversity in the police department
Robinson said there is a need to diversify the police department to better reflect NIU students.
“I wanted everyone to feel comfortable and have a voice,” Robinson said. “Having that voice makes talking to the officer comfortable. So if it makes it more comfortable for a Hispanic officer to talk to a Hispanic resident, that’s what I wanted.”
Robinson recruited a variety of police personnel in Englewood when there was an influx of Hispanic and white residents into the area. Robinson is confident he will eventually work to diversify the police staff.
“Once our officers get here and retain our best officers, train them, and provide them with the resources they need to be the best they can be for our campus and our community, it will have a huge impact on our hiring process,” Robinson said. .
Another filter so far
There will be another open forum this week with the remaining finalist, John Vinson, director of strategic planning and accreditation at Indiana University. The Vinson Open Forum is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday in Altgeld Hall, Room 315.