Fifty-five recommended changes to the Schaumburg Police Department are likely to take a considerable time to fully implement but shouldn't require significant budgetary changes or the firing of any current employees, consultants say.
"There's no one whose head is on the chopping block at this moment," said Interim Police Chief Ken Bouche, who's also chief operating officer at Hillard Heintze, the consulting firm that drafted the recommendations.
The leadership, supervisory and internal communication changes his firm is suggesting can all be made through adjustments to policies and procedures rather than by spending more money, Bouche assured village board members this week as the firm released its 140-page report on the department.
Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson expressed relief that after the $148,000 cost of the study, enacting its recommendations wouldn't cost any more.
Among the recommendations are changes to disciplinary procedures. Current procedures were found to be overly harsh for minor offenses, resulting in poor morale and officers being less proactive, Bouche said.
Nevertheless, Hillard Heintze found the more than 110 employees it interviewed during its three-month study eager and excited to restore the reputation of a department hurt by the January arrests of three undercover narcotics officers on drug conspiracy charges.
The consultant said Tuesday the village should dissolve the Special Investigations Bureau to which those officers belonged.
"We had a special investigations unit that was enforcing drug laws anywhere they wanted," Bouche said. "We're going to put resources where they're needed."
Though lapses in supervision were found to have contributed to why the three charged officers' actions weren't detected earlier, Bouche said the organizational weakness couldn't be blamed on recently retired Police Chief Brian Howerton. Nevertheless, Howerton's retirement in April afforded an opportunity to make corrections as they were identified, with Bouche in the role of interim chief.
Among the changes was the reinstatement of the lieutenant rank to provide an extra level of supervision that had been eliminated during prior department restructuring.
Bouche said what will take his firm's recommendations so long to implement is making sure that leadership and reporting practices become second nature for all involved.
But he is encouraged by the emerging pool of candidates for the permanent chief's position, which should be finalized in August. Depending on the pace of the interviewing process, a permanent chief is expected to be in place sometime between September and the end of the year.