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updated: 7/13/2011 9:01 AM

Aurora, park district reach new cop pact

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Fox Valley Park District has supplied a police officer to patrol the city of Aurora's Phillips Park since 2002.

Now, under an intergovernmental agreement approved this week, that officer also can be called to other city-owned parks if needed.

The city will pay the park district $90,800 each year for police service until the agreement ends Feb. 28, 2014.

"Should there be a special activity going on at a major park, (Aurora's parks department) can now take that officer from Phillips Park and move them to another location," said Mark Johnson, chief of park police and public safety.

The agreement also clarifies the ability of Fox Valley Park District police officers to take law enforcement action in all city parks if they happen to notice something illegal going on and respond before a city officer does.

"It's not like we're going to be dispatched; it's not like we're going to be taking reports," Johnson said. "It's just if we drive by and we see something, we can take action."

Aurora police Cmdr. Joe Groom said Aurora's officers patrol the 16 city-owned parks other than Phillips and handle any incidents that arise, but officers do not encounter much crime at those locations. Phillips Park also is quieter than it was in 2002, when large crowds would gather "caravaning" around in their cars, Groom said.

Under the agreement, Aurora officers must be "reasonably available at all times if park district police officers call for assistance at Phillips Park."

Groom said that isn't a problem for the city's force, as officers already respond to the large park on the city's southeast side as needed.