In June of 1987, the Emergency Services & Disaster Agency or better known as E.S.D.A. program was started. This small group of sworn volunteers, who were interested in being of assistance to the Police Department in case of emergency situations, began training. They learned how to operate equipment in the Police Department dispatch center, rode along with patrol officers, studied the “10 code”, and learned about traffic control procedures.
Over the years, hundreds of volunteers donated thousands of hours to assist at police and fire emergencies, direct traffic at the City’s many events, patrol the streets, and, in whatever way they were capable, ensure the safety of residents.
Evolving from this group of volunteers, the first unit of Community Service Officers (C.S.O.) was formed as security officers for the new City Hall, which opened in May, 1996.
In 2005, Country Club Hills was on the verge of becoming a major retail and entertainment center. Wal-Mart, Guitar Center, Applebees, and many other stores as well as the new outdoor theater near City Hall would be joining AMC Loews Theater in drawing thousands of people daily to our City. As with any major development, more people ultimately brings more potential for crime. This challenged the command staff of E.S.D.A. and the Police Department to create a new level of policing.
The Community Service Officer unit, formerly used primarily as building security, now was assigned a three fold task of deflecting crime from our community. Community Service Officers were now assigned to patrol the streets, guard many more public buildings and assist visitors. They are constantly visible at our City’s parks, shopping centers, schools, and other high traffic areas.
Community Service Officers are used by the Police Department for “service” calls, that is, requests that are non-criminal in nature. Those include downed wires, assistance at accident scenes, house watches, animal control, vehicle lock-outs, vehicle jump-starts, welfare checks, and as crossing guards. They are also trained in assisting the Police Department in key daily operations such as booking prisoners, working lock-up, managing evidence, and are state certified Breath Machine Operators. Community Service Officers undergo several weeks of training and are offered many opportunities for additional training.
Although no longer volunteers, they still provide cost efficient patrol and assist the Police and Fire Departments.