Our Police Department's mission is to deliver quality law enforcement services to residents and businesses of the Village of Franklin Park and to provide them with a safe and secure environment that fosters a sense of security in person, property, and mind. The Department accomplishes this mission through a dedicated, professional, and compassionate workforce committed to enforcing the law, preserving peace, preventing crime, controlling traffic, and protecting civil rights and liberties.
The Police Department provides the Village with a full range of police services including: criminal investigations, patrol operations, traffic and parking enforcement, crime prevention education, and community policing.
New Police Station
Our decision to build this state of the art, sustainable police station was the most fiscally responsible approach to continued public safety for our citizens and a safe, healthy workplace for our law enforcement professionals. Suggestions that the exiting Police Station could have been rehabilitated for several hundred thousand dollars are ill-informed.
It is government’s primary obligation to provide the very best possible public safety services to our residents and to our businesses. It is also imperative that we keep our police officers safe as they work to secure the safety of our families and as they work to stop crime in our community before it happens. The existing police station is unsafe, functionally unproductive and potentially dangerous. The Fraternal Order of Police deemed the building to be severely detrimental to the health, safety and general well-being of the employees and visitors in the building.
In addition, in December 2009, OSHA mandated the closing of the courtroom and two interview rooms due to severe structural issues. For years, the building was not properly maintained. The Board investigated the possibility of rehabbing the current facility and housing the police station in a rented space for the duration through the use of trained structural engineers.
The engineers determined that the cost to rehab the facility was not cost-effective and is not even possible given the structural damage from years of strain on the walls. The roof is made of a substance called Gypcrete, Gypsum reinforced with chicken wire. Gypsum is the same product used to make drywall. Through many years of neglect, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water were allowed to saturate the Gypsum, putting a great load of weight on the walls which have begun to buckle. Engineers determined that a traditional roof replacement was no longer an option and that removing any portion of the roof would result in the entire roof structure being compromised and a probable release of asbestos into the working areas. Moreover, the walls were no longer structurally sound because of the massive weight placed upon them; a rehab down to the foundation would now be required.
Rehabbing the facility would require that the Village remove all personnel and their belongings from the building to ensure that no cross contamination from the asbestos occur. Even if the walls were structurally sound, the 15,000 square foot police station was constructed in the 1950’s and has had at least seven additions. The building has an antiquated electrical system, does not meet building code, has no sprinkler or fire alarm system and is not ADA accessible. Additionally, safety experts have warned the Village that the building poses a potential for exposed mold as well as well as the asbestos issues. A complete report by the Village Engineer which evaluates the building is available for review at Village Hall and a synopsis of that report is available online.
The Board investigated the possibility of rehabbing the current facility and housing the police station in a rented space for the duration. The option of creating a temporary station would have cost the Village approximately $4 million dollars alone in rent, taxes, costs to build-out the temporary facility, move elaborate communication equipment in, and then the cost of removing it all after completion of the new Police Station. Little, if any of that $4 million would have been recouped.
Additionally, the current police station does not meet the modern needs of the Police Department and would require an expansion to allow them to be compliant with state and federal requirements for the facility and jail space. Expansion at the current location is not possible because the facility is land-locked to the west with the Metra owned parking lot and the land to the east contains two underground reservoirs which would cost tens of millions of dollars to relocate.
The Board and I are committed to being good stewards of the taxpayer dollars and have examined all options before voting to build a new police station. We have been dedicated to restoring our financial health and establishing good management and accountability. Our vigorous adherence to accepted accounting practices recently resulted in the Village being awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Last year Standard and Poor’s issued an investment grade bond rating to the Village, making it the first time in Franklin Park’s history that the Village’s finances received an investment grade rating without credit enhancement.
We have cut Village overhead, streamlined operations and increased efficiencies. In the area of public safety, we saved $800,000 by applying best practices in police officer staffing, while continuing to safeguard our community. The new police station has been designed to serve the Police Department, and our citizens, for the next 50 years. It will also serve as a regional center to allow the Franklin Park Police Department to collaborate with police departments in neighboring communities on area-wide task forces and to implement new crime prevention programs and to stop crime before it happens. This new facility will support our officers as they work to secure the safety of our neighborhoods and to continue to provide the highest quality of service to our community.