BGA Questions Park District Police Departments

The Better Government Association has shined the spotlight on another seeming anomaly in local government.

The target this time is park districts that have police departments

Nineteen of 339 park districts in Illinois have their own police forces.

Here is the BGA’s summary:

“All of which raises questions of redundancy, liability, nepotism and expense for holdout districts that still choose to go it alone on policing.

“Collectively, records show they spend more than $5 million annually on police operations.”

Four have shut down their police departments in the last five years, the BGA found.

The Crystal Lake Park District made the article for having three Federal surplus M-16’s.

$98,983 was reported spent on Crystal Lake’s Park District police force by the BGA, but District Executive Director Jason Herbster says there is $30,000 in revenue and $268,859 in expenses for the fourteen-person force.

The Chief is full-time and there are thirteen part-timers.

The hours are from 7-11 or midnight and typically one officer is on dutry, Herbster wrote.

The BGA made no mention of the McHenry County Conservation District’s police force.

That service is something that McHenry County Board member Donna Kurtz has argued should be handled by the Sheriff’s Department.

= = = = =
Read about last August’s diminution of Mike Walkup’s and my First Amendment Rights by a CL Park District Policeman here.

To replace the Park District and Conservation District law enforcement would require intergovernmental agreements with the Sheriff’s Department and the Crystal Lake Police Department, as well as potentially other municipal forces in the case of the MCCD.


BGA Questions Park District Police Departments — 11 Comments

  1. The CL Park District has run wild for decades pissing away taxpayer funds.

    It is amazing how much waste the residents accept as “business as normal”

  2. Why does the County Board constantly approve a MCCD budget which funds a police force?

    Why do Community Colleges have their own police force?

  3. Really?


    For a Park District Police Force?

    This sounds like a bad sequel to Paul Blart Mall Cop.

  4. This is Illinois, there can NEVER be too much corruption or
    taxation at each and every level of government. It’s a proven FACT.

  5. Need State law to eliminate ALL Park Districts and Conservation Districts.

    Place Park Districts under the control of the largest municipality served and move the Conservation Districts to be a Department within the County it serves.

    Next eliminate ALL fire districts the same way.

    Next tackle Road Districts and Townships.

    Any of this on the agenda for Reick? Wheeler? Skillicorn?

  6. Daniel Dziewior retired from the Crystal Lake Police Department on May 11, 2015, as previously reported on the blog.

    Records could be obtained via a FOIA request from the Crystal Lake Police Pension Fund to determine if he is receiving a pension and if so, any requested details.

    The Crystal Lake Police Pension Fund is one of 657 Downstate Police and Downstate Fire pension funds in Illinois, as of the 2015 Illinois Department of Insurance Biennial Report covering the years 2013 & 2014.

    According to the Better Government Association payroll database, Mr. Dziewior’s start date as Police Chief of the Crystal Lake Park District Police Department was May 12th, 2015, and he earned a salary of $60,000 in that position (not sure if that was for a full year).

    The Crystal Lake Park District is a separate legal entity and property taxing district from the City of Crystal Lake.

    The Crystal Lake Park District participates in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension fund.

    The City of Crystal Lake participates in three pension funds:

    – Crystal Lake Police Pension Fund (a Downstate Police pension)

    – Crystal Lake Fire Department Pension Fund (a Downstate Fire pension)

    – the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).


    Open the Books widget (payroll) records for Mr. Dziewior:

    2016 – $51,394 – Crystal Lake Park District

    2014 – $30,989 – Crystal Lake Park District

    2015 – $42,047 – City of Crystal Lake Police Department – Police Commander


    Per Better Government Association payroll database:

    2016 – $60,000 – Crystal Lake Park District – Park Services Department – start date 5/12/2015

    2015 – $110,427 – City of Crystal Lake Police Department – Police Commander

    2014 – $108,264 – City of Crystal Lake Police Department – Police Commander – start date 9/28/87

    2013 – $105,323 – City of Crystal Lake Police Department – Police Commander

    2012 – $102,584 – City of Crystal Lake Police Department – Police Commander


    There could be a few reasons for the pay discrepancy between Open the Books and Better Government Association.

    It is likely the reporting periods for the year listed do not align.

    So when “2015” is listed:

    – Was that for a fiscal year? (the City’s & Park District’s fiscal years are both May 1 – April 30)

    – Was that for a partial fiscal year (the employee retired during the fiscal year)?

    – Could be for a full or partial calendar year.

    – Was pensionable income reported? (Open the Books typically obtains wages from the pension fund and thus reports pensionable income, but not sure in the case of the City of Crystal Lake & the Crystal Lake Park District).

    – Was base salary reported instead of pensionable income?

    – could be other reasons as well.

  7. I believe you’ll hear the excuse about the cost of vandalism will go up without park/conservation control.
    It’s the talking point at has to be dealt with.

  8. (70 ILCS 1325/) Park District Police Act.
    (70 ILCS 1325/1) (from Ch. 105, par. 330a)
    Sec. 1. Park police powers.
    (a) Whenever any park district establishes a police force under Section 4-7 of the Park District Code, each officer of that force is vested with police powers, is authorized to act as a conservator of the peace within that park district, and may arrest or cause to be arrested, with or without a warrant, any person who breaks the peace, or who violates any ordinance of a city, town, or village, or of the park district, or any criminal law of the State. If a park district maintains an airport, this authority also extends to any violation of a rule or regulation of a governing federal agency or any federal, State, or local law relating to that operation. The authority granted under this Section is expressly limited to park district property and shall not be construed to extend to any other jurisdiction except in cases of fresh pursuit or under a validly executed intergovernmental cooperation agreement.
    (b) An arrest may be made by a park police officer without a warrant when a criminal offense is committed or attempted in his presence, or when a criminal offense has been committed and the officer has reasonable ground for believing that the person to be arrested has committed it. Any person so arrested shall, without unnecessary delay, be taken by the officer before the circuit court of the county having jurisdiction, and the officer shall file a complaint in writing under oath, charging the defendant with a violation of a statute or ordinance.
    (c) A full or part-time police officer employed under this Section shall comply with the requirements of the Illinois Police Training Act. In addition, before carrying a firearm, each officer shall complete a training course under the Peace Officer and Probation Officer Firearm Training Act.
    (Source: P.A. 98-725, eff. 1-1-15.)

    (70 ILCS 1325/1.1) (from Ch. 105, par. 330a.1)
    Sec. 1.1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Park District Police Act.
    (Source: P.A. 86-1324.)

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