By Terry Dean
Oak Park and River Forest High School is looking to formalize its process of reporting crimes on campus to police in the two villages via an intergovernmental agreement with both departments.
OPRF plans to enter into agreements with the River Forest and Oak Park police concerning how and when crimes are reported to law enforcement. Crimes covered in the agreement include those involving drugs and weapons.
The District 200 Board of Education discussed both agreements during their Dec. 8 board meeting but did not take action. The board is scheduled to vote on the measures at their Dec. 21 meeting.
School officials noted that they already have a process in place to notify police, when warranted, concerning crimes committed on campus by students. But it was the River Forest Police Department that contacted OPRF about entering into a formal agreement. OPRF then contacted the Oak Park police about entering into a similar agreement.
According to John Williams, director of Oak Park and River Forest Township Youth Services, it's helpful to track data from all types of crimes to notice trends.
Over the summer, a 17-year-old OPRF student was arrested for his role in a drug ring after he was found to be in possession of hundreds of cellphones and calculators, some of which were reported stolen from the school.
Williams said that for people abusing drugs, anything is up for grabs, so electronics theft is definitely worth tracking.
According to Oak Park police, crimes such as theft are not reported by the high school. A parent or student would need to contact a School Resource Officer or the police directly to report a theft.
Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley said that process won't change with the agreement, but that he'd suspect theft of many items at a time or over a long period of time would be reported by the school.
School officials say thefts are not mandated to be reported to police but other crimes are.