LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Updated: March 29, 2012 4:18PM
Urge officials to fund Police Station plan
Over the past several months, the Police Chief’s Advisory Task Force has sought a solution to correct the urgent deficiencies in the Park Ridge police station in a cost-effective way. The resulting plan was presented to the mayor and the City Council, and the aldermen have studied ways to fund it. I am one of the many volunteers who helped develop this plan and I am a longtime resident of Park Ridge. As such, I strongly encourage every citizen to study this plan (it can be found on the Police Department website, www.parkridge.us/police). It explicitly presents the deficiencies of our current police station, explains the hazards they create and outlines a solution for a cost well under that of constructing a new station. If you agree with its conclusions, I ask that you encourage the mayor and the City Council to fund it.
Among the many obligations of the city government to the citizens of Park Ridge, one of the greatest is public safety. We enjoy living in a generally safe and secure community. Part of the reason for this is the investment made in our police and fire departments. However, our sense of safety should not lull us into complacency. Communities just as small as ours, and just as generally safe, have suffered from crime outbreaks and natural disasters that would severely tax our present police facilities. The fact that the recent murder investigation had to be relocated to Rolling Meadows because our station was too small to accommodate outside personnel highlights its shortcomings.
Recent fire and police budgets have been cut. As a result, both departments have fewer personnel and resources. Any time a department is asked to do more with less, no matter how conscientious and creative its employees may be in performing their duties, the risk of not being able to meet a need increases.
In some enterprises it may make sense to operate with a narrow allowance for the unexpected. But in regards to police and fire services, such an approach does not pay off. By their very nature, they are emergency services and to prepare for emergencies a community must be proactive. Being proactive means taking steps to minimize the impact of a disaster; that is, not waiting until a problem crops up and then fashioning an expensive, patchwork solution. Recent economic conditions and imprudent financial decisions made in the past (e.g. the Uptown TIF) have clearly placed strains on the city budget. However, the cost incurred by just one serious incident for which we are unprepared could dwarf our present money woes.
We all pay for insurance for our home, life and automobiles knowing that it is prudent and responsible to do so, but also hoping that a tragic event does not require our using it. An investment in our safety and well-being is a sound investment even if it may come at some cost. The need for a better facility for our police department is the proverbial tip of the iceberg of a need to invest more fully in those who have committed themselves to protect and serve members of our community.
Park Ridge Police Chief’s Advisory Task Force