by Cheryl Borrowdale
SUGAR GROVE—The ranks of the Sugar Grove Police Department will soon be expanding, after Village Board members on Tuesday approved the hiring of more part-time officers and the purchase of two new squad cars.
Interim Police Chief Ron Moser presented the proposals to the board on Tuesday night, noting that the SGPD’s pool of available part-time officers had been reduced over the years as people moved and made career changes, which had resulted in the department paying overtime to its regular full-time officers.
“The thought is that this will help on the budget side by reducing the amount of overtime,” Moser said. “In this way, we’re not only hiring at a lower hourly rate, but we’re saving 30-40 percent of the benefit costs and we’re saving on spending time-and-a-half.”
He suggested that the department hire only candidates who were already full-time officers elsewhere, since they would already have the current weapons qualifications and training that the state requires. Though the department could increase the pool of candidates further by opening the part-time positions to retired officers as well, Moser said he thought it was unnecessary.
“I’d recommend that if we don’t get sufficient numbers in this manner that we extend it out (to include retirees),” he said. “But we think there’s a pool of qualified candidates in the area.”
The board also discussed the possibility of changing the design of the Police Department’s squad cars from an all-white body to a black-and-white body.
“To go back to a black-and-white stark vehicle would raise the profile (of the Sugar Grove police),” trustee Tom Renk said. “I am not opposed, but I really want to know about the cost.”
Moser said that the change in design would take place over four to five years, since the department has enough in its budget to replace two to three cars every year. The new design would involve purchasing black cars as the department continues its standard vehicle replacement schedule, and then applying a white wrap over the four doors to achieve the black-and-white look.
“It’s primarily an aesthetic change,” Moser said. “More of a ‘look now, we’re changing a bit, we’re in your neighborhood community policing.’ The short answer is that it’s mostly just for change and for some new branding for the Police Department.”
Trustee Rick Montalto said he favored the black-and-white because it helped differentiate the police.
“Having the more visible squads in the neighborhood where people can see us patrolling, I don’t think we are a village where our neighborhoods need that stuff, but I think along Route 47 the trucks would slow down,” he said.