By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
To keep up with continued growth in Rosemont -- in events, venues and visitors -- Rosemont Public Safety Department is beefing up its ranks.
This month the department hired three new full-time public safety officers and hopes to hire another 60 auxiliary officers by the end of 2017.
While the village’s residential population is about 4,200, it is estimated that as many as 75,000 to 100,000 visitors pour in on a daily basis for work and entertainment purposes.
Full-time officers George Giacobbe, Francisco Meraz and Terrence Rose were hired this month, according to the village.
Since 1975, all Rosemont safety officers are cross-trained in police, fire and emergency medical operations.
“We hired 40 auxiliary officers at the beginning of this year,” Public Safety Detective Joseph Balogh said. “The new auxiliary staff began an in-house training program Jan. 14.” Balogh said the auxiliary division, under Rosemont’s Bureau of Support Services, is currently staffed with 243 auxiliary officers. Ideally, he said, they would like to have from 320 to 350 trained auxiliary officers to handle the additional growth of activities, events and visitors to the village.
With the upcoming addition of the new Pearl development along Balmoral Avenue, which will include restaurants, a hotel and a new baseball stadium, demand for village services continues to grow.
“The chief will continue to administer auxiliary academy classes until the desired number is reached,” Balogh said. “After that, we will maintain that desired number which would likely still require us to administer one academy class per year.”
Balogh said they are always accepting auxiliary officer applications. “Our department is looking to hire a diverse group of hard-working, motivated officers,” Balogh said. “Anyone who enjoys helping others and striving to better themselves is encouraged to apply.”
He said interested individuals should pick up an application form in person at the Rosemont municipal building, 9501 W. Devon Ave., fourth floor.
Last October, Rosemont Public Safety Chief Donald E. Stephens III swore in 36 new auxiliary officers who had just completed a rigorous two-month training academy. Three officers were appointed to auxiliary lieutenant, seven to sergeant, and 16 appointed to corporal. The event was held at the Donald E. Stephens (DES) Convention Center. More than 300 people attended.
Auxiliary officers provide extra safety and security in many areas of the village. They work around the clock managing traffic, crowd control and security at all village venues. Officials note that after a year on the job as an auxiliary officer, one can take firearms training. If they pass the test, they are provided a gun.
Rosemont runs one of the largest auxiliary police forces in the nation.