Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
As I drive around town or back and forth to work, I notice that the police cars keep changing. Some are the 4 door sedans, but many are SUV’s of all types. It’s nice for our officers to have enough room in their squads to pick up a bike that’s been abandoned on the roadside after being stolen or damaged. They probably like having the extra room for other everyday work. Over the years the colors have changed along with the newer makes and models.
I began to do some research into how our police force has changed over the years. My first memory of the police department dates back to 1965 when I first moved to Hoffman Estates. The police department had a small area on the north end of the old Gieseke/Hammerstein farmhouse (now the Children’s Advocacy Center) that served as the first sales office for F & S Construction but later became home to our first village hall, public works and police departments. The north end of the upper floor was used for police offices. The slanted ceiling always required walking about in a slightly stooped position for police chief Mark Orlick who had his office upstairs. A small addition was added to the back of the farmhouse to serve as a small jail. Our population in the 1960 census was 8,296.
The Daily Record newspaper had a 1962 story about the police department. At that time, the force consisted of the Chief Orlick, Lt. John O’Connell, Sgt. Willard Anderson and six patrolmen; Norm Kalovsky, Robert Manning, Ray Schneider, George Eckart, Rod Schwartz and Richard Hecker. The training for the officers was given at the Chicago Police Academy.
There were only 3 squad cars to patrol the neighborhoods. Two squads were on duty at all times with all three on duty during the “rush hour”. Other duties of the police officers were to take accident victims to area hospitals (Arlington Heights or Elgin) when they didn’t need an ambulance. They served as armed guards for large monetary deposits from businesses or large organizations to Roselle or Palatine banks since there was no bank in town. They also served as marriage counselors for domestic disputes. During 1961 they handled 2,662 calls from residents. The most common were dog bites, prowlers and suspicious persons or vehicles.
Since the early 60s, our village has grown from a population of 8,500 to 53,000 in 2014. Our village borders now reach west to Elgin and north to Inverness. There are 22 square miles for our police force to cover in their efforts to keep us safe.
We now have 93 sworn officers, 31 marked cars, with 8 patrol cars on the streets at all times. Our police department took 19,339 calls from the community in 2013. Their 12 weeks of training is done with the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy at College of Du Page. They continue with 14 weeks of on–the-job training.
The present day police force still helps us deal with domestic disputes, dog bites; traffic accidents, prowlers and suspicious persons, but they do it on a much larger scale. With modern communication tools, we dial 911 and they arrive on the scene or at our doors in a matter of minutes. It’s reassuring to know someone is there to help us.
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
(Photo of the Hoffman Estates police force is compliments of the Village of Hoffman Estates’ website.)