Roscoe, neighboring police join Major Crash Assistance Team/MCAT


Photo: Harlem-Roscoe Fire District

An intergovernmental agreement (IGA) was signed recently by community police departments in Roscoe, Rockton, South Beloit, Loves Park and Chery Valley and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, agreeing to participate in a new program: the Major Crash Assistance Team (MCAT), an accident monitoring team.

The program involves reconstructing accidents through the use of data and forensic evidence to determine the factors contributing to a crash. Reconstruction is the process of obtaining refining and analyzing information from the crash.

Prompt access to vehicles involved in an accident and the accident scene is important in determining cause. Looking at things such as skid marks, damage to the vehicle, and eyewitness accounts can put together a picture of what happened.

Both the Roscoe and Rockton Village boards recently signed an IGA agreement authorizing their commitment to the program.

In the event of a fatal crash in Winnebago County (with the exception of Rockford who have their own Crash Assistance Unit), the MCAT unit is called to reconstruct the crash.

Deputy Chief Dominic Barcelona of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is the MCAT unit commander. Barcelona determines what team is available to respond to the crash.

According to Roscoe’s Deputy Chief Sam Hawley, who is chairman of the MCAT Board, the program requires officers to attend highly specialized certification classes. “The classes are difficult. Reconstructing accidents is so important and are very specialized.”

Each municipality can send traffic unit officers for training. Candidates applying for the MCAT unit are required to attend a 4-6 week training program at Northwestern University Center for Public Safety. Additional training is required for more specific topics.

If an accident involves fatalities, Barcelona sends a call out to all officer and deputy reconstructionists from all municipalities on the team.

Hawley said Roscoe has one officer signed up for training so far. South Beloit has two.

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