Delavan to provide police services for both communities
DELAVAN Delavan and Darien already share a school district. Starting Jan. 1, they'll also have the same police department.
The Delavan Police Department will begin to provide police services for the village of Darien in 2013.
For Darien, the agreement will give the village the police coverage it wants and provide a local substation for walk-in customers.
For Delavan, the agreement helps with administrative costs and means an extra car in the area for emergencies.
"In this age of shrinking budgets and tightening of belts, these types of agreements are what we need to do now—and in the future," Delavan Police Chief Tim O'Neill said. "We've got to find new and innovative ways to save taxpayer dollars."
Darien Village Administrator Diana Dykstra called it an "amazing partnership."
"This is a one-of-a-kind, out-of-the-box, creative way to offer the same level of service at with a reduced impact on the taxpayers," Dykstra wrote in an e-mail.
Dykstra and O'Neill explained the basics of the agreement:
Q: How much will it cost?
A: The village will pay $465,000 the first year and $495,000 the second year, according to village budget documents.
If the village had kept its own department, it would have cost an estimated $517,999. In recent years, the village police department had unexpected costs that pushed spending above its budget. In 2010, for example, the village budgeted $515,2143 for the department, but it actually cost $601,501. In 2011, the budget was $508,884, but actual spending was $661,990.
"I think the biggest issue here is one cost—established and budgeted for—that offers the exact same level of service (as before)," Dykstra wrote in her e-mail.
The village also avoids budget surprises for purchases such as vehicles, training and wages, she said.
"Each year we had to spend resources to negotiate a contract, work to maintain qualified trained staff and keep our equipment up," Dykstra said. "It wasn't easy to budget for."
Q: How far is it between Delavan and Darien?
A: "From city limits to village limits its about three minutes," the chief said.
Darien will add about two square miles to the police department's responsibility. Its coverage area will go from eight to 10 square miles.
Q: How many officers will you have in your department?
A: "Right now, we are authorized for 18 positions," O'Neill said. "As of Jan. 1, we'll be authorized for 22 positions."
Q: How often will officers patrol in Darien?
A: "The village of Darien has asked for services of a patrol car regardless of time of day," O'Neill said. "There may be more there, depending on the caseload."
Q: Will specific officers be assigned to Darien?
A: The village will be another patrol sector of the Delavan Police Department. Officers rotate through the different sectors. That said, O'Neill said he wants try to use officers hired from the former Darien department as much as possible.
"We will try to use the talents of the officers from Darien," O'Neill said. "They know the citizens; they know the streets."
Q: Will the officers from Delavan be hired?
A: "One of them already works for us," O'Neill said. "The other has to appear before the police and fire commission."
Determining candidates' eligibly for employment at the Delavan Police Department is "the sole prerogative" of the police and fire commission, O'Neill said.
"We told the village of Darien that we would make every effort to hire their officers," he said.
Q: What will the village provide?
A: "We are basically maintaining the building, materials, inventory, paying for a clerk and keeping our municipal court," Dykstra said.
What was headquarters for village police will become a substation for the Delavan officer. The police and court clerk will work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and residents still will be able to stop in and file complaints, pay court citations, get "vacation check" forms, talk to an officer or report issues.
Q: Are you going to change the logos on the squad cars? How about the uniforms?
A: The logos on all the squad cars have been changed to include "Serving Darien."
As for the uniforms, "We're going to try to work on that," O'Neill said.