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McHenry signs up for accident investigation team

Published: Monday, July 7, 2014 9:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:03 a.m. CDT

McHENRY – Fatal accidents happen on an occasional but somewhat infrequent basis.

“But when they do happen, you want to make sure you do it right,” McHenry Police Chief John Jones said.

A newly approved agreement between the McHenry and Spring Grove police departments on top of the agreement the city of McHenry already has with the village of Johnsburg will be the basis of a new multi-jurisdictional accident investigation team.

The setup will give departments access to additional manpower, which is important because major accidents require a lot of manpower in terms of emergency response and accident reconstruction, Jones said, adding that police departments are dealing with tighter staffing.

The number of officers in McHenry has dropped to 47 from 51 over a period of about eight years.

The departments also will be able to use the recently purchased total station accident reconstruction equipment, which allows officers to quickly and accurately reconstruct accident scenes digitally, Jones said.

The city of McHenry has responded to two fatal accidents – a fatal motorcycle accident on Route 120 in late June and a single-vehicle accident on Curran Road in May – since acquiring the equipment.

The system cut the number of man hours needed to reconstruct those accidents in half, Jones said, adding in his report to the City Council that the multi-jurisdictional team will give officers more opportunity to use the equipment and thereby improve their proficiency.

The McHenry City Council approved the intergovernmental agreement with Spring Grove at its meeting Monday evening in a 6-1 vote.

Alderman Andy Glab was the sole no vote, saying that while he understood the value of being a good neighbor, he questioned whether the city of McHenry and its taxpayers would benefit from the agreement.

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