The Arlington Heights Village Board of Trustees, Village President Thomas Hayes, Village Manager Randall Recklaus are responsible for decisions made about a temporary police station. During operations out of a temporary police station, zero tolerance regarding any declining performance in police coverage for neighborhoods, residents and businesses should be a critical concern of citizens. The temporary police headquarters is scheduled to be located on the far northwest corner of Arlington Heights. That’s closer to Deer Park Town Center Shopping Center near Lake Zurich than most locations in Arlington Heights south of Thomas Middle School or Olive-Mary Stitt School.
Predictably, the Village of Arlington Heights is reporting that’s O.K. because police are in patrol beats in neighborhoods anyway. You’ll see below that’s only half true.
Here is the Government Speak describing the details of the temporary Police Headquarters arrangements …
VAH: Police Department Moves to Temporary Facility in May, 2017
April 4, 2017
The Arlington Heights Police Department will be on the move in May, 2017, to its temporary location at 1500 W. Shure Drive, near Route 53 and Dundee Road, while construction begins on the new facility.
The Police Department will occupy approximately 15,000 square feet consisting of 2,300 square feet of first-floor space with the remainder being on the third floor. The first floor will include a front desk that offers 24/7 service to the public.
While the temporary location is not centrally located, Police are adjusting schedules so that the start and end of shifts will be staggered. The different starting and ending times will ensure that there is continuous Police coverage throughout the Village, 24/7. Also, patrols are assigned certain beats, or geographical areas, in the Village and do not work from the police facility. The use of beats allows officers to provide a quick response to any calls received during their shift.
Village Hall and the four Fire Stations have also made workspace accommodations for Police officers who can utilize the offices 24/7 to file a report remotely or conduct other business without needing to travel to the temporary facility.
The terms of the lease are for 24 months with a 3 month option, along with the ability to vacate after 14 months with no termination fee if a 45-day notice is provided. The Police are also able to install security as needed and will have access to reserved parking for marked vehicles.
The Village has budgeted $2.2 million for other building costs and a temporary relocation, moving costs, rent and other miscellaneous costs related to construction of a new facility, the $21,896.88 monthly rent for 15,000 square feet is well within the allotted budget.
A total of 18 sites throughout the Village were considered, but many were ruled out because of high rent costs, costs for interior improvements, or lack of visibility.
The temporary location also provides the easiest and fastest location to provide secure data for the Police Department, which is required for the Police to access Federal security systems.
Construction of a new Police Station, which will be built using the same footprint as the existing building, will begin this summer and include a two-level building of approximately 70,500 square-feet and a 10,000 square foot garage. Construction of the new station is expected to cost $27.9 million.
Here Is What They Didn’t Tell Us
The Devil is in the Details, and many of the details of the planned use of a temporary police headquarters are cause for concern.
VILLAGE HALF TRUTH: “… patrols are assigned certain beats, or geographical areas, in the Village and do not work from the police facility.” THE WHOLE TRUTH: Police patrol officers patrol their beat and take assignments to their beat, but they are often required to respond to the police station to take reports (regarding crimes that occur in their beat) or meet with supervisors, or transport prisoners to jail (which we won’t have anyway, you’ll see next and more about jail further below). Police officers with a prisoner requiring transport from their beat will have to transport their prisoner out of town to a community that has a jail, or another officer will have to respond to make the transport. Do you wonder how patrol coverage will be strained while a police officer is out of town for an hour transporting a prisoner to another police department’s jail? You should.
MORE GOVERNMENT SPEAK: “The use of beats allows officers to provide a quick response to any calls received during their shift.” >>> THE WHOLE TRUTH: Shots fired calls and other violence-related calls require multiple officers from multiple beats to backup the beat. The backup officers that happen to be at temporary headquarters could take up to 15 to 20 minutes to respond to Tanglewood Apartments, for example. That’s because it’s a long way from the temporary police headquarters at Dundee and Route 53 — especially on snow-covered or ice-covered roads or during rush hour congestion.
Trouble Far Away
One of the most troubled neighborhoods in Arlington Heights near Goebbert Road and Falcon Drive is a 9-10 mile drive from the temporary police headquarters. The 18-month construction period, expected to begin in May or June 2017, will encompass two Winter seasons (Winter 2017-2018 and Winter 2018-2019) which could make police travel times a nightmare for the police officers responding and for the citizens of Arlington Heights waiting for a response. Another troubled neighborhood is the hotel/motel strip along Algonquin Road, known for frequent illegal drug deals, gang activity and prostitution. The hotels on Algonquin Road are a 9-mile trip from the temporary police headquarters. Two weeks ago police in the area heard a shot fired and ended up calling out the SWAT team from NIPAS to get some gang members out of a hotel room. That ordeal lasted from about 9:00 p.m. on a Friday until 8:30 a.m. the next Saturday morning.
More On No Jail (Not Moron, No Jail)
Local Jail. Arlington Heights won’t have its own jail facility for 18 months to two years while construction of a new police station is underway. That means police will have to transport prisoners to other communities, such as Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect or Rolling Meadows. This means our police officers will be inconvenienced and delayed with extra drive time for prisoner transport, and will be wasting time attempting to find which neighboring community’s jail has space available, and how to make sure the prisoner has food. That’s time taken away from patrolling neighborhoods and handling calls. In the case of multiple prisoner transports, the prisoner transport van is often picked up at headquarters by an officer already at the scene or it is driven out to the scene by an officer already at police headquarters, where it is parked. That means the prisoner transport van might not arrive to locations in central and the southside of Arlington Heights for 20-40 minutes (as opposed to about 5-10 minutes when the police headquarters is centrally located). The Village of Arlington Heights has not yet mentioned how jail arrangements are being planned. While our police officers are utmost professionals, it is likely that temporary logistics problems and time constraints will result in less arrests during the 18-month no-jail construction period.
Also, the location of prisoners will probably be more confusing and frustrating as attorneys or family members try to contact prisoners, and don’t know the jail where they are located.
Two moving operations will involve inefficiency and disorganization — at a cost of $2 million to move twice. Imagine keeping track of police assets and resources during each move, and having those resources be at the right place at the right time with the 24-hour emergency operations required of a police department. Imagine those resources being confined in storage or disassembled somewhere, or misplaced. The $2 million moving expenses will likely go over budget. And remember, much of that $2 million is wasted because the decision has been made to locate the new police station in the same location as the old police station, which requires two moves instead of one, and requires use of a temporary inadequate facility with rent expense for a period of at least 18 months. If the construction period of 18 months is on target, the second move into the new police station will occur in the middle of Winter in December 2018 or January 2019.
The existing old police station is 38,000 square feet. The new police station will be 70,000 square feet with a 10,000 square foot garage. The TEMPORARY POLICE STATION will occupy approximately 15,000 square feet consisting of 2,300 square feet of first-floor space with the remainder being on the third floor. How is that going to work? The police leaders must be planning to leave a lot packed in storage. Although part of the lesser space is understood with the lack of a locker room and showers, lack of a jail, and lack of a firing range. The lack of a home-based firing range is cause for concern because the International Association of Chief’s of Police and firearms instructors belonging to IALEFI, the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, have suggested that firearms training and practice should preferably be held three times a year (some say four times per year). The learning curve required for the psychomotor skills needed for semiautomatic pistol manipulation is maintained by constant and frequent reinforcement. Otherwise, firearms skills deteriorate. Semi-annual and annual firearms training maintenance has been suggested as insufficient for the purposes of avoiding liability. How will Arlington Heights police officers keep up with firearms skills and practice?
Firing Range Practice
Clearing stoppages with either hand
Drills that simulate malfunctions
Emergency tactical reloading with either hand
Manipulation of safeties and de-cocking levers with either hand
Low-light and judgmental (decision-making) shooting
Shooting while moving to cover
Giving verbal challenges
Firing and clearing malfunctions from various “officer down” positions
Engaging multiple targets
Wake Up Call
Most likely the Village of Arlington Heights will find it necessary to actually setup a police substation or second police facility on the south side of town. Village leaders can’t possibly continue to fail to realize that one temporary police station (less than half the size of the existing “outdated” police station) at the far northwest corner of Arlington Heights combined with disjointed “accommodations” at four fire stations and a Village Hall office is a workable solution. It’s confusing to say it, let alone work it. Rolling Meadows police actually put a police substation in an apartment complex years ago to combat crime in their troubled apartment complex. The temporary headquarters in Arlington Heights will be moving away from the hot spots in Arlington Heights and that particular hot spot in Rolling Meadows, which Arlington Heights police are frequently involved for mutual aid or spill over into Arlington Heights.
What Customer Service?
Most residents of Arlington Heights will be inconvenienced when having to travel a significant distance to make in-station reports or inquiries at the far northwest end of the Village of Arlington Heights. Some residents prefer not to report crimes at their residences and choose to discretely report crimes at the police station. This way neighbors and possibly offenders can’t see that the resident contacted the police. This inconvenience to residents will last for at least 18 months. The drive for most Arlington Heights residents to their temporary police station will be more than 15 minutes (more than 20-30 minutes for some) even under ideal traffic conditions. Traffic on westbound Dundee Road is often backed up all the way to Arlington Heights Road during the evening rush hour, so choose your travel times wisely.
The Staggered Shift
Shifts will be staggered because it takes so long for a police officer in a southside beat to make the trip to the temporary police headquarters and turn over the squad car to the police officer replacement for the next shift. If they didn’t stagger the shifts, response time could be about 20 minutes or more before any police officer would reach an emergency call on the south side during shift change. The staggered shift will probably increase the chances of human error by police officers, police supervisors and 9-1-1 dispatchers because it will be more confusing, especially in emergency situations, to be aware of what officer is active and available in their respective beat.
The Haggard Officer
Who wants a stressed out police officer this day and age? A police officer’s job is difficult enough in modern America. No doubt extra driving time and logistics frustrations of a temporary facility will put a strain on our police officers. There won’t be a locker room. There won’t be a convenient, comfortable location to change clothes when pants get torn in a foot pursuit, or when a change of clothes is needed after getting caught in the rain, spit on, bled on, vomited on, or after a sweat-induced struggle drenches the police officer’s clothes. To some extent a police station gives the officers the “comfort of home” while at work. For the Village of Arlington Heights to tell the citizens of Arlington Heights that officers “are assigned certain beats, or geographical areas, in the Village and do not work from the police facility” is a thoughtless, inconsiderate comment. The officers aren’t remote robot drones that are without the need for nutrition breaks, mental breaks, and personal maintenance. And again, remember these conditions aren’t only happening for a few days. This will be ongoing for 18 months. Additionally, it will be harder for police officers to meet face-to-face with each other or with supervisors to solve problems related to incidents and related to operations adjustments. Face-to-face time will be necessary to make the temporary work conditions more manageable and to tweak operations to make improvements in the efficiency of the temporary conditions. The human factor or ergonomic factor in the design of the workplace is highly important. Failure to recognize human factors in critical jobs and operations is often recognized as important as a contributory cause in workplace accidents and catastrophes. Has Human Factors and Ergonomics been prioritized for the 18-month police station construction period in Arlington Heights?
What About Roll Call?
Police roll call, where supervisors take attendance and make scheduling adjustments, inspect uniforms and equipment, inform the oncoming shift of any developing incidents, inform officers about awareness of suspects at large, and update officers about law or procedural changes, will be disjointed. This would be tolerable for a couple of days, but this is going to go on for 18 months, and maybe longer, if there are construction delays. With staggered shifts, either roll call will be disrupted or additional roll calls will be necessary.
Certainly the security of the temporary facility will not be as hardened as the permanent police station — the new one or the old one. Security of officers personal vehicles, police vehicles and the temporary police station itself will not be as secure as a permanent facility. That presents problems of vulnerability — details we would rather not describe for security reasons.
Who Is Accountable for These Bad Decisions?
The Arlington Heights Village Board of Trustees, Village President Thomas Hayes, Village Manager Randall Recklaus are the people responsible for the decisions related to a temporary police station. It is important, as citizens, that we support our police officers and remain proactive to recognize problems before they occur. Most importantly, if problems with police service develop over the next 18 months or so, direct complaints toward the Village Manager, the Mayor, and the Board of Trustees who made this decision to use a temporary police station, not the police officers who dutifully and professionally follow orders.
See also …
PoliceOne.com Police firearms training: How often should you be shooting?
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