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‘They could’ve shot him’ – Officers awarded as Lansing Police also announce new accreditation and deputy chief retirement

LANSING, Ill. (October 5, 2023) – The Lansing Police Department shared three major updates at the October 3 Lansing Village Board of Trustees meeting: a major accreditation for the department, a deputy chief’s retirement, and three awards for officers responding to a potentially deadly situation.

Lansing Police Department accreditation

After a two-year process, the Lansing Police Department has now been accredited through the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ILEAP). Chief Jerel Jones, representing the board of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, presented Lansing Chief Al Phillips and Lansing Deputy Chief Steve Roberts with a plaque recognizing the accreditation.

“Lansing PD has achieved Tier 1, which means you meet or exceed 69 important standards. That is amazing,” Jones said. “We reviewed your policies and procedures in the context of these standards. We looked at four areas: administration, training, operations, and personnel.”

Jones described the process as “rigorous” and said Lansing is now one of 60 agencies in Illinois with the accreditation, all of which comprise only 5% of all professional departments in the state.

Deputy Chief Roberts, who spearheaded the accreditation process, said, “Without everyone’s help, we could have never done this … This really reflects on the entire agency.”

Lansing Police
From left: Chief Jerel Jones, representing the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, congratulates LPD Deputy Chief Steve Roberts and Chief Al Phillips on becoming accredited through ILEAP. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Deputy Chief Steve Roberts retires

Deputy Chief Steve Roberts is retiring after 28 years with the Lansing Police Department. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

The Lansing Village Board publicly acknowledged Deputy Chief Steve Roberts’ retirement and recognized the 28-year department veteran for his years of service.

“He’s been in every position,” Chief Al Phillips said. “He’s done amazing things. He takes care of our budget. He takes care of our accreditation. He takes care of our grant-writing team, [and also] policy and procedures.”

After receiving a plaque for his service, Roberts said, “This village is my family. … A lot of people said to me, ‘You know when it’s time to leave, you’re going to be running out that door.’ It’s not that way. I still love this place. I love the people here. I’m going to miss this place.”

Lansing Mayor Patty Eidam congratulates Deputy Chief Steve Roberts on his retirement. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Roberts praised the Village of Lansing for supporting the Lansing Police Department throughout the years.

Roberts’ family was also recognized, including his wife Dawn and his sons Owen and Daniel, who were present at the meeting, as well as his son Ethan, who is away at college.

From left, Deputy Chief Steve Roberts, his wife Dawn, and his sons Owen and Daniel. Robert has another son, Ethan, who is away at college. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Lansing Police Officer awards

Lansing Police officers Brianna Olin, Riley Donnewald, and Robert Dempsey were presented with Outstanding Achievement Arrest for their response to a potentially deadly situation on August 17.

“We were called to an area for shots fired,” Chief Phillips told the Village Board and audience. “A lot of times you arrive and you get to realize it was a false alarm. Well you’re going to see a video today that’s going to show you something different.”

Phillips said someone was firing a gun in a Lansing neighborhood, and had fired 17 rounds at trees, squirrels, and in the air before officers arrived.

LPD body cam footage of a dangerous situation was shown at the October 3 Village Board meeting. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

A body cam video was shown of an officer entering a backyard and approaching the subject, repeatedly yelling at him to drop his gun and get on the ground. As the officer approached the kneeling man, whose back was to the officer, the man picked up the gun, prompting further yelling from the officers on the scene to “drop it.”

“He was totally justified in being shot right there,” Phillips said. “The only reason these officers did not shoot him is they were trained well enough to slow down the situation, be alert, know what’s going on, and they saw that he was grabbing the extended magazine — which is just behind where the gun is — instead of the handle.”

“That’s an amazing recognition you officers did,” Phillips told the group. “You were very much justified in shooting him.” Instead, LPD took the man into custody without further incident.

“The restraint these officers showed kept us from being front page in the news media that day, and for weeks to come,” Phillips said.

Lansing police
From left, Officers Riley Donnewald, Brianna Olin, and Robert Dempsey were awarded Tuesday night for their response to a potentially deadly situation in August. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

The three officers received a standing ovation from the crowd, as well as certificates for their achievements from the Village.

The Lansing Police Department is located at 2710 170th Street.

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Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.

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