A NEW HOME FOR THE HOFFMAN ESTATES POLICE DEPARTMENT

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The beautiful new police department building on Spring Mill Drive will be opening this July.  Its only 6 or 7 blocks from its original home on Illinois Blvd. That first police department was in the old Gieseke/Hammerstein farm house, now the Children’s Advocacy Center.  In 1959 the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association turned the property over to the newly incorporated Village of Hoffman Estates and the 100 year old building became the first village hall and police department.  They had only one makeshift jail cell in the back of the building. The old farm house had creaking floors and spiders in the basement.

 The Hoffman Estates police didn’t have radio contact with one another nor with the officer back at the police desk.  The only way they knew that a call had come in was to regularly drive past the farm house and see what was happening with the front farm house window.  If the window shade was up, they could continue on their rounds but if they saw that the window shade was pulled down, they’d better stop in and see who needed them.  They didn’t have car radios installed until 1967.

 There were only 10 men on the force.  Mark A. Orlick was the first police chief.  Grey and navy were the first uniform colors. Over the years, black shoes were the only consistent part of the uniform as it changed in the 1960s, 1980s and again in 1999.

 The first squad car was navy blue and the squad car colors have changed more than the officer’s uniforms.  We’ve had light blue, dark green, two-tone light green and white, navy blue again, all white and now black and white. The top red bubble light has gone to the more streamlined Mars emergency light.

 A new village hall was needed after more than a decade in the Hammerstein farm house.  On June 25, 1972, the new 31,000 square-foot building was dedicated.  It was the first municipal building in Illinois that was completely accessible to the handicapped.  It must have been a wonderful change from the old farmhouse.  The force was up to 32 men in 1972 and the new police facilities could handle 90 men and women. 

 Soon the present police department will be empty.  The modern futuristic police facility on Spring Mill at Higgins will also be “green”.  The SRBL Architects will seek the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certificate from the U. S. Green Building Council.  With solar shades, UV ray blocking glass, recycled flooring and carpet and a green roof with grass and plants, we hope that this will become another historic building in our community

Over the past 50 years we’ve moved from window shades to lap top computers, from spiders in the basement to grass on the roof.

 P.S. I wonder who gets to cut the grass.

 Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian, eagle204@sbcglobal.net

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