In November, the Village of Forest Park entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), through which Forest Park police officers will provide services on CTA property, including platforms, trains and other CTA locations within the village.
The project is known as the CTA Special Detail and, according to the agreement, provides provisions for “the use of sworn, off-duty, fulltime PD officers as security personnel.”
The CTA will provide $95,000 per year to the Forest Park police department to pay officers for their time, and officers must voluntarily choose to work these extra hours. They can participate in the CTA Special Detail when they are on furlough, a regular day off, a day off due to holiday or on personal time.
The collaborative agreement comes out of a desire for more security at Forest Park CTA stops. As the agreement states, “the security of CTA passengers, employees and property is a matter of public concern, and the provision of such security is in the public interest.”
The duties of the Forest Park police department include assigning voluntary officers on a daily basis to CTA property within the village; facilitating the employment of the officers by accepting requests of those who wish to participate and maintaining a roster of these individuals; maintaining weekly employment schedules, as well as keep records of CTA incidents, including crimes and arrests, that involve Forest Park police officers; and to conduct meetings with CTA representatives on a regular basis.
Forest Park Police Chief Tom Aftanas believes this arrangement will help cut down on crime.
“We are called multiple times a day to the CTA stops in town,” said Aftanas in an email. “Participating in this security detail with the CTA ensures that a police officer is solely assigned to patrol CTA property for up to eight hours a day. This gives us increased visibility at the CTA stations in the hopes of reducing graffiti and tagging of the rail cars as well as the common nuisance offenses such as soliciting and intoxicated/disorderly riders. The ultimate goal is to create a safer environment for CTA customers as well as CTA employees.”
The agreement was approved unanimously by Mayor Rory Hoskins and all four Forest Park commissioners – Jessica Voogd, Ryan Nero, Joe Byrnes and Dan Novak – at a village council meeting on Nov. 12.