HINCKLEY – The Hinckley Police Department plans to hire another full-time officer in March.
Village trustees approved Chief Gregg Waitkus’ request to hire a fourth full-time police officer Feb. 3.
Waitkus said he made the request to provide better community policing and customer service.
Village President Jim Roderick said part of the thought process in hiring another full-timer is because he or she will be more invested in the community.
“With another full-timer, we’ll be able to cover every shift and then fill in with part-timers,” Roderick said.
Waitkus said his department will continue to rely occasionally on the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, as many of the smaller communities in the county do, but he is trying to minimize that dependence.
Roderick said the only concern expressed by village trustees was how to pay for an additional officer.
“I think the benefits will outweigh the cost,” Roderick said. He estimated, on the high end, the cost will be $20,000 more a year for a full-time officer rather than for part-timers filling the same shifts.
“The board agreed that adding another position would be in the best interest of the community,” Waitkus said.
“We have a projected $200,000 surplus in the general fund, and the police department has been running under budget,” Roderick said.
He said the village purchased a new police vehicle this year – a four-wheel drive truck – which already has proved valuable this winter.
“Until we bought this truck, our newest police car was a 2007,” Roderick said. “That’s old for a police car.”
Roderick said the village is spending money, “but we’re spending it on things we need.”