Trained auxiliary officers would aid Elburn police

By on June 18, 2010

[quote]by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn village officials want to appoint voluntary auxiliary officers who will be available to assist the Police Department with traffic control and emergency and disaster response.

Under a proposed ordinance, the village would be able to appoint people as auxiliary officers after they received training from the village’s Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) program.

“It isn’t like the Old West anymore, where you could deputize anyone and form a posse,” trustee Bill Grabarek said during Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting, for which he is chairman.

Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said having auxiliary officers on hand for emergencies would be extremely helpful.

“We (the Police Department) have only got two officers on duty at any one time,” Smith said. “We don’t have the number of bodies, the staffing to provide extra officers during accidents and weather-related emergencies.”

The ordinance would allow the village to appoint auxiliary officers who would not have arrest power, weapons or emergency vehicles.

The volunteers would not wear police uniforms but would have distinctive garb such as polo shirts identifying them as auxiliary officers. They also would receive reflective vests and flashlights. The village would pay for those items with C.E.R.T. grant money.

“It sounds like we’d be pretty fortunate to have them. They would not cost the village any money and they would be performing a service, a great service,” Trustee Jerry Schmidt said.

The pool of auxiliary officer applicants will come from this year’s seven-week C.E.R.T. program, which finishes up on Thursday and included instruction in fire suppression, disaster first-aid and psychology, search and rescue, terrorism and weather. Elburn Police Department and Elburn and Countryside Fire Department conducted the training.