At the request of Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold, village trustees are considering approving a “lateral hiring ordinance,” which would put hiring priorities on police applicants who already have completed law enforcement training.
Channahon is down two officers and is looking to hire, but Wold said that the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board has reduced the number of police academy classes by 25 percent.
“We’re on the waiting list for the first class in 2018,” he said, “which starts the second week in January.”
That could mean a lag time before two new officers are on the street if they have not already completed their police academy training. Wold said if he were to fill the positions with untrained officers, they would start with the department in January, attend the 14 weeks of academy training, then return to the department to spend a minimum of 12 weeks of field training.
Meanwhile, Channahon officers are working overtime, which can be a burden for the officers and cost the village extra dollars.
Hiring officers who already have police academy training means they can start right away and immediately go into an abbreviated field training in Channahon.
“I feel it’s important that we have this ordinance to attract trained officers and get them on the street faster,” Wold said. “Safety is a board priority.”
Wold said that Channahon was named the 10th safest city in Illinois by SafeWise, which is up from 11th safest city last year. According to www.safewise.com, violent crimes in Channahon were at 0.32 per 1,000 residents, and property crimes were at 3.88 per 1,000 residents. SafeWise uses FBI crime report statistics for its calculations.
Also on Monday, the Village Board decided that the next step in the deliberations of whether to allow village residents to raise chickens in their backyards is to give it to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing and a vote. Trustee Patricia Perinar voted against the measure. The commissioners could hear the proposal as soon as their Aug. 14 meeting. They could decide whether to send the matter back to the Village Board for a final vote.
Last spring, some residents requested that the village change its ordinances to allow chickens on their properties. Current village law states that residents living only in rural A-2 zones may keep chickens. No chickens are allowed in town.
Keeping backyard chickens is an interesting hobby, a fun and educational experience for children and cuts down on the amount of food garbage going to landfills, supporter Jennifer Parshall said at an April board meeting. They produce eggs and keep down the mice, mole, tick and flea populations, she said.
Village staff are working on a change to the ordinance that would develop a one-year pilot program. The ordinance could include allowing no more than eight fowl licenses in that time period; would detail specifications on hens, coops and pens; and give numbers of chickens allowed on each property. The chickens likely would be confined to residents’ backyards.
Other considerations will be whether to require a $100 permit, a minimum of 10 square feet per chicken, screening the coops and pens with a 6-foot solid fence and storing feed in a rodent-proof container. No roosters would be allowed.
“This is just a draft,” Village Attorney David Silverman told trustees. “It’s sort of a starting point to keep the conversation going.”
Also Monday, former Channahon Trustee Debbie Militello was recognized by the board for her four years of service to the community. She stepped down from the board in April to take the appointed position of Will County board member for District 6.
The public also was reminded of National Night Out, which will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Channahon Police Department. The event will include a live band, car show, moon jump, raffles, meet-and-greet with Channahon Police K-9 Officer Hutch, food, refreshments and more.
Also at the event, the Channahon Park District and Three Rivers Library will host a movie in the park that will begin at dusk.