Four officers and two firefighters were sworn in at Tuesday’s village board meeting. The four new officers are set to replace several vacancies at the Skokie Police Department.
“This is an evening of celebration, but it takes a lot of work to bring in six new hires,” said Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen.
The four new officers weren’t alone on Tuesday night. Family and friends were also present and applauded the achievement.
“They’ll be replacing existing vacancies, go through various training at the police academy,” said Police Chief Anthony Scarpelli. “They’ll be doing field training, too, with veteran officers, and should be able to ride solo in seven months.”
Matt Dickinson, Leo Feldman, Patrick Howe and Jaclyn Roden will all be “riding solo” following the completion of their training.
Meanwhile, the fire department added two new firefighters to their team on Tuesday. Sworn in at the village board meeting were Peter Arreguin and Christopher Johnson.
Talks of hiring additional officers –
Several Caucus Party trustee candidates have said that the village is already in the works to hire additional officers.
Trustee candidate Ilonka Ulrich said she is “very in favor of getting more officers,” but added that other avenues should also be explored. She suggested the use of satellite locations – such as the old police station at 8350 Laramie Ave. – to increase police presence throughout the village.
"I think using the old police station as a satellite location would be a good idea," Ulrich said. "I also think it would be a great idea to cut in some areas to hire more police officers - or juggling new technology to make [their hiring] less expensive.”
Other candidates such as Ralph Klein and Karen Gray-Keeler also said plans are in the works to hire additional officers.
In the meantime, Skokie will have four fresh faces patrolling the streets soon. Crime has been down overall over the last five years by at least 5 percent, according to the latest figures from the Skokie Police Department’s annual report.