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From its founding as the settlement of “Blooming Grove” in 1822, Bloomington remained a village until designated a town in 1831, when McLean County was created. It had a population of 150 by the time the first jail was built in 1832. The McLean County Sheriff and various deputies and watchmen provided law enforcement services until 1850. In August of that year, the Bloomington Police Department was created when Bloomington’s city government was chartered. Orrine Curtis was appointed the first City Marshall. Twelve officers were added between 1854 and 1870. Their foot patrols were in 12 hour shifts, six day a week. They were supplemented by a horse drawn patrol wagon.

In 1900 an officer on patrol discovered a fire in a laundry across the street from the old City Hall and Police Station at Monroe and East Streets. He sounded the alarm but the fire eventually destroyed the majority of the downtown. It was rebuilt, even better than before.

In 1915 the patrol wagon was replaced by a motorized REO Speedwagon. In the 1920’s, Ford automobiles, and motorcycles were used to patrol outlying areas of the growing city, while foot patrols still covered the downtown.
In the 1940’s radios were installed in the vehicles, replacing a call box system and signal light outside the station, that alerted officers on patrol of a waiting call. Thompson 45 caliber machine guns were also purchased for the force.

A new City Hall building was erected in 1961, housing the police department in the lower level. Additionally, Traffic and Youth Divisions were added and a 911 emergency telephone system was installed. About the same time, motorcycle patrol was phased out. 
Speedwagon 

 

Bloomington’s population reached 45,000 in the 1970’s and the number of sworn officers approached seventy. A Crime Prevention Unit was added to provide better public service.
In 1983, Task Force 6, a multi-jurisdictional covert operations unit, was formed to investigate drug and vice offenses. Bloomington Police have participated in that unit since its formation. In the following years, specialized positions were created for training, public affairs, crime scene investigations, and canines. Additionally, a field training program was developed to train new officers for the growing force.

In April of 1997 the department moved into a new police facility that included a modern crime laboratory, fitness center, and locker rooms. Within a few years the Information Services unit would oversee a local area network of 85 computers in the police building.

In the final decade of the century, Bloomington Police joined the McLean County Combined Communications System (METCOM) and a Vice and Narcotics Unit was formed, within the department, to supplement Task Force 6. Intelligence operations were coordinated by a Crime Analysis Unit and a Proactive Unit was added to focus on gang suppression.

By 2001, the EJS computer program had been developed to connect all components of the criminal justice system in McLean County. The Bloomington police force consisted of an authorized strength of 105 sworn officers and twenty civilian staff.

In 2006, about a year and a half after Bloomington exercised its option to withdraw from METCOM, a state-of-the-art Communications Center -- employing 17 full-time telecommunicators and serving both Bloomington Police and Fire Departments -- went online in the police facility.


Structure

As with all municipal police organizations, the Bloomington Police Department is organized and operates along a semi-military model. There is a unified chain of command, with delegation of authority. Current authorized strength is 128 sworn police officers: one chief of police, three assistant chiefs of police (operations, administration, and professional standards), six lieutenants, 16 sergeants, and 102 patrol officers. Officers may be assigned to the patrol division as a patrol officer, or obtain a position in a specialized assignment such as Detective, Vice Investigator, Street Crimes Officer, School Resource Officer, Crime Scene Technician, K-9 Officer, etc. Non-sworn positions in the department include administrative staff, evidence and records custodians, crime and intelligence analysts, community service officers, telecommunicators, and technical specialists who provide an array of support services.

The Police Department is subdivided into the following divisions, units, and assignments.

 Patrol
     o Neighborhood Focus Team

 Criminal Investigations
     
o Cyber crimes
     
o Domestic Violence

 Street Crimes
     o Canine
     o Street Crimes 
     o VICE

 Administration
     o Training
     o Public Information Officer 
     o School Resource Officers 

This list is not comprehensive, additional specialized assignments, units, and positions are available upon approval by the Chief of Police. 

Operations 

The work period is generally divided among three patrol shifts of eight hour duration, with five days on-duty and two days off-duty. Additionally, there is a Street Crimes Division, which works varying hours as needed, but typically works 10AM to 6PM. The Criminal Investigation Division generally operates Monday through Friday 9AM to 5PM. 

Budget

The Police Department operates several budgets with an approximate annual total of $16 million. The majority of the budget expenditures are for personnel, including salary and benefits. We also invest heavily in training and technology to ensure public and officer safety, and to optimize efficiency and effectiveness. 

Mission

To work in partnership with the citizens of Bloomington to enforce the laws and to enhance the quality of life in our community.

With that mission as a starting point, the Bloomington Police Department is committed to operating under a community policing philosophy. Further, we operate under a Community Oriented Government philosophy, engaging available City resources to identify and resolve community problems.

Recognizing that no single strategy will suffice as an operating basis for a modern police department, we employ a variety of response strategies including intelligence-based policing, problem-based policing, and professional policing.