Lake Zurich police to save cash through realignment and more officers on street
Lake Zurich Police Chief Steven Husak said he plans to save money and provide better service by having fewer top administration employees and more officers on the street.
"The hiring of a new police chief is a significant event in the organizational life of the village and offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the operation of the police department from a new perspective, to review any areas that are deficient or lacking in emphasis, or to infuse new ideas throughout the organization," said Husak, who departed as Buffalo Grove's deputy chief to become Lake Zurich's top cop in April.
As part of Husak's plan, Lake Zurich village board trustees recently approved his recommendation to replace a vacant commander's position with the hiring of a patrol officer. Husak said the village will save about $80,570 in budgeted salary money by hiring someone for an entry-level position to replace the commander post that's been vacant since Guillermo "Willie" Quinones' retirement six months ago.
Husak said the hiring of the new cop would be authorized by the village's police and fire commission in February in preparation for a basic law-enforcement academy class the next month. He also wants to hire a second patrol officer next year to replace another vacant, more expensive commander position.
Trustee Jim Beaudoin said he supports the chief's ideas to boost service to residents and businesses with more patrol officers while trimming expenses.
"This is impressive," Beaudoin said of Husak's plan, "and I think this is something that is long overdue in the village of Lake Zurich."
Husak said Lake Zurich's sworn officer authorization will remain at 34. However, he estimated future annual cost savings of $25,000 to $50,000 by having two commanders instead of three, staying with one deputy chief, realigning supervisors such as sergeants, reducing overtime and being prepared to hire newly minted officers in recognition that many veterans will become eligible for retirement in 2015.
At one time, Husak said, Lake Zurich had three deputy police chiefs. He said the department has operated with one deputy chief since 2008.
Husak said police departments need rigorous self assessments to prevent complacency. He said he's been evaluating efficiency, job-duty equity and work distribution since he was hired as police chief.
"It's a great department," he said, "and it's on its way."