DuPage, Kane sheriff's deputies could cover overnight calls in Wayne

Facing difficulties recruiting qualified officers, the Wayne Police Department is hoping to lean on the sheriff's offices in DuPage and Kane counties for overnight coverage.

The DuPage County Board's judicial and public safety committee this week supported a proposal authorizing sheriff's deputies to respond to calls for police service in Wayne from midnight to 6 a.m. - as long as they're compensated for it. Committee members agreed to add a charge of $50 per call to the one-year contract, which goes to the full county board for final consideration next week.

If approved, the deal would designate the sheriff's office as the primary agency covering the county's portion of the village during the overnight hours. That's a step above a traditional mutual aid agreement, in which various police entities provide backup services for one another, board member Brian Krajewski said.

"This is a little unique," he said. "In this case, Wayne is not going to have anybody in the evening, and we're going to take it over. Therefore, compensation should be paid."

Wayne Police Chief John Naydenoff said the $50 charge is "more than acceptable" and could serve as a benchmark for tracking the use of county resources. His request for overnight coverage stems from challenges attracting enough candidates who meet the standards of his department, which primarily employs part-time officers, he said.

"We're not doing it to save money," Naydenoff said. "We're doing it because we have a crisis hiring qualified officers."

A similar deal has been proposed in Kane County, granting sheriff's deputies authority to provide overnight services on the west side of Wayne - but at no additional cost.

Sheriff Ron Hain said his office provides service to multiple smaller entities that either don't staff a night shift, such as Maple Park, or that don't have a police force at all. The county does not charge for those calls, to which deputies would respond with or without a formal contract, he said.

The deal with Wayne "is a mechanism to make the village feel confident the sheriff's office will be there," Hain said. The full county board is expected to vote on the measure next week.

"I think it's going to be a great benefit to not only the Wayne Police Department, but especially the citizens," Naydenoff said.

Covering the village's overnight calls is not expected to strain resources or require additional staffing in either county, sheriff's officials said. According to Naydenoff's analysis of the last two years, Wayne averages 2.5 overnight calls per month, most of which are for residential alarms, loud noises or other nonessential calls, he said.

The compensation, or lack thereof, could be reconsidered if the call volume changes, the chief said. Under both contracts, Wayne officers would still respond to more serious crimes that require a follow-up investigation.

Unlike in Kane, taking over police services for a municipality is a new concept for the DuPage sheriff's office, said board member Julie Renehan, chairwoman for the judicial and public safety committee. But deputies do handle nighttime calls for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, prompting several board members to suggest pursuing a similar deal with the agency.

"We should make things consistent," Renehan said. "I think this Wayne agreement is going to be a great litmus test for us."

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