Off-duty cops to help beef up CTA property patrols

Council approves agreement unanimously

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By Robert J. Lifka

Contributing reporter

Off-duty Forest Park police officers will soon start patrolling Chicago Transit Authority property in the village following action at the Sept. 26 village council meeting.

The council, by a 5-0 vote, agreed to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the CTA, allowing full-time Forest Park police officers who are off-duty to serve on the CTA special detail.

Police Chief Tom Aftanas said contract details are still being worked out and a start date for the program has yet to be determined. The program is new to Forest Park, but CTA special details using off-duty police officers are used in other municipalities, including Oak Park and Evanston.

Aftanas explained that one off-duty officer will work in uniform from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily, including weekends and holidays, patrolling CTA property in the village, including buses, trains and property. The officers will be paid $40.32 per hour by Forest Park and the village will be reimbursed by the CTA up to $95,000 annually. Officers will volunteer for the special detail and village police officials will determine the schedule.

In response to questions from Commissioner Dan Novak, Mayor Anthony Calderone explained that off-duty officers on the special detail will not be riding on CTA trains or buses. He also explained that the special detail will not replace current patrols by on-duty Forest Park police officers of CTA property in the village.

Volunteers will be allowed to serve on the special detail when they are on furlough, regular day off, day off due to holiday, personal day or compensatory time. Forest Park police will maintain daily log and statistics on CTA incidents, crimes, fires and arrests and any activity related to such type of events performed by off-duty police officers on the special detail.

The CTA will allow special detail officers full access to all CTA property and vehicles. The agreement allows the CTA to make recommendations regarding locations and routes to be patrolled and the police department "shall give those recommendations due consideration."

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