Editorials: Communities, agencies work together to assure police staffing
Struggling to find qualified applicants to fill its ranks, the Wayne Police Department recently asked the sheriff's offices in DuPage and Kane counties to provide overnight coverage.
It didn't take long for the department to get an answer.
Last week, DuPage County Board members approved a one-year contract that designates the sheriff's office as the primary agency covering the DuPage portion of the village from midnight to 6 a.m. A similar deal is in the works that would allow Kane County sheriff's deputies to respond to overnight calls on the west side of Wayne.
Covering Wayne's overnight calls is not expected to strain resources or require additional staffing in the sheriff's offices. After all, Wayne averages only 2.5 overnight calls per month, according to its police chief. And most of those calls are for residential alarms and loud noise complaints.
Still, the willingness of the sheriff's offices in DuPage and Kane to help a municipality is notable. It's a great example of intergovernmental cooperation.
That kind of cooperation is happening in Palatine, where the village council has agreed to allow the Palatine Police Department to respond to emergency overnight calls at Harper College. The arrangement is expected to begin by February.
While Harper has a police department, the agreement with Palatine will allow the school to allocate its sworn officers to times when the most people are on campus.
When it comes to Wayne, Police Chief John Naydenoff said the request for overnight coverage stems from challenges attracting enough candidates who meet the standards of his department, which primarily employs part-time officers.
"We're not doing it to save money," Naydenoff said. "We're doing it because we have a crisis hiring qualified officers."
If the Kane County Board approves the deal with Wayne, the arrangement wouldn't be unusual for Kane.
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain says his office already provides service to multiple smaller entities that don't staff a night shift, such as Maple Park.
As part of its arrangement with DuPage, Wayne will pay the county $50 per call.
That's cheap compared to what it would cost Wayne to hire another part-time police officer. So while the village didn't enter into the contract as a cost-savings move, the deal will undoubtedly save money for Wayne residents.
Hiring and training new police officers can be expensive. So police departments working together to share resources to keep people safe is a good thing.