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  • Megann Horstead

Increase in traffic crashes cited in Minooka PD annual report

Minooka Chief of Police Justin Meyer’s annual police report to members of the Minooka Village Board of Trustees shows traffic crashes increased from 2018 to 2019.

The presentation was made Feb. 25 during the Minooka Village Board of Trustees meeting.

The village reported 203 traffic crashes in 2019, officials said. That figure amounted to 188 the prior year.

Citing distracted driving and population growth, Meyer said traffic crashes are an issue, not only in Minooka but nationwide.

“While we continue to focus on our efforts on crime and traffic management, the overall key to success of the Minooka Police Department is our community engagement,” he said. “It is my belief that our strong relationships with the community is why our crime rate continues to be low.”

The Minooka Police Department’s community engagement efforts include hosting trivia night, the Cop on Top Special Olympics Illinois fundraiser and the explorer program.

Meyer said professional development is another key to the police department’s success.

“This past year, we received about 3,009 quality hours of training opportunities, either through the department in-service or through our mobile training units to meet the several unfunded mandates,” he said. “This year and currently, we are currently up-to-date with all of our mandates that the Illinois Training Standards Board has required us to do.”

Officer of the Year recognized

Also at the meeting, patrolman Matthew Juras was named Officer of the Year for 2019.

The honor is bestowed to a member of the Minooka Police Department annually.

Meyer said Juras was selected “for his patience and compassion with everyone in the community—ordinary citizens and offenders alike.”

The officer of the year is voted on by peers and is given to the awards committee for further consideration, officials said.

“He is able to easily diffuse tense situations,” Meyer said. “He is very engaging with children, whether at local schools or domestics where kids sometimes rely on us to make them feel better.”

Meyer said Juras goes above and beyond of the department expectations to mentor members of the police department as a field training officer.

In the past, Juras has participated in several school searches, search warrants and articles of searches that has led to the recovery of drugs, evidence and evidence of a robbery and a stolen vehicle, officials said.

“His dedication to duty, professionalism and commitment to excellence reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Minooka Police Department and the village of Minooka,” Meyer said.

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