VILLA PARK – Remote work stations located inside Villa Park’s fire department facilities are allowing local police to increase their productivity and also work closer with their fellow first responders, village officials said.
“They have three shifts, and we get to see them all,” said Villa Park Police Officer James Svara. “I think it has helped a lot because they learn more of what we do and vice versa.”
The Villa Park Police Department established a work station in each of the fire houses – Station No. 2 at 102 W. Plymouth Ave. and Station No. 3 at 1440 S. Ardmore Ave. The stations were set up several months ago, said Villa Park Police Chief Robert Pavelchik.
The work areas consist of a desk, computer, phone, copy machine and other office supplies, and allow officers to file reports, return complaint calls and generally stay connected without returning to the police station, Pavelchik said.
“My officers can still be in their zones and also have access to a desktop computer without having to come back into the station,” Pavelchik said.
The department’s goal is to keep officers active in their zones, and the work stations allow them to do that more effectively, Pavelchik said.
It also means officers no longer have to worry about being stuck by a passing train.
“It saves a lot of time,” Svara said. “With the trains going through town, it’s vital to keep at least one officer north of the tracks.”
“Keeping officers in their beats will hopefully help ward off crime,” said Villa Park President Deborah Bullwinkel.
“It adds another layer of visibility that we wanted to have on the north side,” Bullwinkel said. “It’s a really good thing and I’m happy to see this in action.”
The remote work stations can only add to a great working relationship between the police and fire, Pavelchik said.
“We [provide] different services, but at the end of the day, it’s emergency service,” he said, adding that the fire department also holds training exercises in the police station.
“Just having coffee and breaking bread is a good thing.”
Villa Park Fire Chief Ronald Rakosnik agreed with his fellow department leader.
“We’re all on the same team doing different jobs,” Rakosnik said. “It puts our guys – especially our new guys – in a position to meet the patrol officers and have a better relationship.”
The police, who are usually on a scene first because they are on patrol, are now in a position where they know the names of the firefighters/paramedics, Svara said.
“We can gather information and relay that to the fire department.”
While the officers can complete most daily tasks at the remote work stations, all arrests and bookings are still done at the police station at 40 S. Ardmore Ave.
No resident services associated with the police department are available at the remote work areas, Pavelchik added.