OAK BROOK – As the village of Oak Brook continues to attract more and more special events and activities, the Oak Brook Police Department continues to explore avenues to maintain and further residential safety.
Following approval from the Oak Brook Village Board on March 25, Oak Brook police will soon add an auxiliary officers unit to assist the department during summer events, sports tournaments and large community gatherings and activities.
Ideally, the police department will staff six to 10 officers by early July, according to Police Chief James Kruger.
“What makes [auxiliary officers] unique and beneficial for us is that we’re able to bring them in when necessary for things like Taste of Oak Brook, the Oak Brook Half Marathon, large soccer tournaments and even some duties and activities around Oakbrook Center during the holidays when we have an influx of customers coming to our community,” Kruger said.
Following the economic downturn six years ago, the Oak Brook Police Department underwent an organizational restructuring to meet financial constraints.
But now, a buoyed economy plus an influx of local events has created a need for trained, part-time auxiliary force.
“I’m very confident that we’re staffed at the appropriate levels on a day-to-day basis,” Kruger said. “But our community also sees some fairly significantly sized special events and there’s always an interest to add new special events because of the desirability of our community.”
As village polo matches continue to increase in popularity, Kruger said there may be opportunities for auxiliary officers to also assist during those events, which will start again July 6. But Kruger emphasized a desire to have auxiliary officers “on board and ready to go” for the Taste of Oak Brook, which begins July 3.
The police will soon begin the hiring process for certified auxiliary officers who have graduated from the police academy. All applicants will undergo a thorough screening, including an oral interview and psychological and medical reviews, Kruger said.
The start up cost is a little over $46,000, but the tab includes uniforms and equipment, he said. The ongoing cost will then be between $10,000 and $20,000 annually.
Both the startup and yearly fees will be deducted from the Oak Brook Police Department general fund, according to Kruger.
The police chief explained an auxiliary officer’s duties will be limited to special events and assisting full-time Oak Brook police officers; accordingly, the department may consider officers who are currently working part-time in other communities, or recently retired officers who are already certified.
“One thing that is helpful is auxiliaries, by definition, are exempt from any pension laws in Illinois, so I wouldn’t expect to see an auxiliary officer work more than 20 hours in a given week on average,” he said. “Some will be far less than that, maybe closer to 20 hours a month.”