Palatine police expected to take overnight calls from Harper College

  • If the Harper College board approves, the Palatine Police Department will take over responding to campus calls from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

    If the Harper College board approves, the Palatine Police Department will take over responding to campus calls from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. File photo

 
 
Updated 5/5/2021 1:47 PM

The Palatine Police Department is expected to begin responding to overnight calls from Harper College later this year or early next year.

The village council gave its consent Monday night to an intergovernmental agreement with the college that will allow village police to respond to calls from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at the college campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, on the southern end of the village.

 

"Staff conducted a study of past years' calls for service and do not feel this would place an undue burden on the department," Palatine Police Chief Dave Daigle said.

Harper College's police department includes sworn officers and community service officers. Currently, both are assigned to the overnight shift, when calls for service "decrease dramatically," college spokeswoman Kim Pohl said.

Harper College Police Chief John Lawson, who started the job in January, did a review of the department's staffing structure to ensure resources were being used most effectively, Pohl said.

An examination of area community colleges showed "the vast majority" use community service officers, security officers or nearby police departments for overnight calls, she said.

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With the new agreement, "we can reallocate our sworn officers to the times when the most students, employees and visitors are on campus, while receiving coverage and support from Palatine police should a call require the response of a sworn officer," Pohl said. Harper's community service officers will continue to respond to all other overnight calls.

The deal between Palatine and Harper would formalize a long-standing "handshake" arrangement that allows Harper police to use the Palatine police gun range and detention facilities, Daigle said.

The agreement spells out a requirement for Harper police to provide ammunition and a certified range officer, as well as safety protocols including wearing ballistic body armor at all times and eye and ear protection while shooting.

When Harper police use Palatine's police detention facility, they would have to provide medication and food to prisoners, or Palatine police would bill those costs to Harper.

Councilman Doug Myslinski, who chairs the administrative, technology and community health committee, asked whether the arrangement has ever taken time away from Palatine police training. Daigle responded, "No."

The agreement still must be approved by the Harper board, but it is expected to be implemented toward the end of 2021 or early 2022, Pohl said.

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