The Grayslake-Hainesville Police Department and the Grayslake Fire Protection District, led by Chief Phil Perlini and Chief John Christian, respectively, ably serve the Grayslake community, day in and day out – dealing with whatever emergencies and issues come their way.
The Grayslake-Hainesville Police Department has 31 full-time sworn officers, 11 part-time sworn officers and two full-time community service officers. The agency recently hired a new full-time officer to replace an officer who retired in December 2017 after serving the community for 29 years. The new officer is currently attending the police academy in Decatur, Illinois, and will receive 520 hours of training over a 14-week time span.
The department’s management team is also receiving ongoing training. Department sergeants and assistant watch commanders are undergoing John Maxwell Leadership Training under the tutelage of Marvin Bembry, teaching them tactics of servant leadership which will help them to stand out in their community, careers and daily lives by making a positive impact on the lives of other people.
Grayslake also continues to collaborate with other Lake County policing bodies including Mundelein, Libertyville, Gurnee and Round Lake Park in an effort to curb prescription drug abuse which often leads to opiate addiction, according to Perlini.
“We got in on the ground floor of this effort, working alongside the Lake County Opiate Task Force,” he said. “We carry Narcan, the opiate overdose antidote, in all of our police cars now and have brought back a number of overdose victims over the years.”
But the effort does not end there. Anyone who feels that they have a drug addiction problem and decide that they want help can walk into the Grayslake Police Department, 10 S. Seymour Ave., or approach an officer and ask for help.
Residents can assist with preventing unwanted drug use by disposing of their unused prescription drugs and old syringes in an approved container in the police department’s lobby. These containers are available to the public 24 hours a day. By taking these steps, residents can help prevent potential harm/overdoses by those who may want to improperly use or experiment with prescription drugs.
When it comes to community interaction, the Grayslake-Hainesville Police Department is a stand-out. Officer Amy Guzman, the school resource officer at Grayslake North High School, is once again coordinating the department’s participation in the Special Olympics Torch Run, held each June. The event covers about three miles of Route 83 roadway within Grayslake and many members of the Department participate by providing water to runners, guarding intersections and even running themselves.
The other program of which Perlini is particularly proud is the department’s Shop with A Cop program that helps between 30 and 40 local children each year. Local businesses and residents support the program, which is run entirely on donations and involves a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a Christmas movie, treats and then a shopping outing with a police officer.
The December event annually involves between 15 and 20 Grayslake police officers, supplemented by additional volunteers from the College of Lake County police force, the Lake County Forest Preserve Police and additional officers from Round Lake Beach, Lindenhurst and Glenview.
The Grayslake Fire Protection District’s 40 full-time and 28 part-time Firefighter/Paramedics responded to over 4,300 calls for help during 2017 and are continually getting additional equipment and specialized training to further serve residents of the district, according to Christian. A new fire engine and a new ambulance will be delivered this year to replace aging pieces that have long been in service in the six-municipality Fire Protection District.
“Our focus always is to reduce risk to the district’s community by increasing fire prevention inspections, developing new strategies for dealing with hazards and keeping a close eye on how we are responding to situations,” Christian said. “We also continue to advocate for the installation of fire sprinklers in any new construction.” Research has shown that home fires become deadly in as few as three minutes. Fires today seem to burn faster and kill quicker, because the contents of modern homes can burn faster and more intensely. The installation of sprinkler systems can reduce these risks and minimize property loss.
Because of the large number of lakes in the district, firefighters need more diverse training than those in communities with less water. For instance, Grayslake has firefighters that are specialists who are also certified public safety divers, trained to execute rescue and recovery efforts in both water and on ice. They are part of the Lake County Water Rescue Team that handles calls from Lake Michigan, west into McHenry County.
“We have many bodies of water in Grayslake and in Lake County, so we need highly-trained divers available year-round,” Christian said. “All fire district personnel are trained to an operation level but we also have technicians available in the county who are trained to operate county-owned sonar equipment to do both side scans and sector scans of our lakes. Recreational boating in Lake County is continually increasing so we need to be fully prepared with the proper equipment and personnel to respond to emergencies on our lakes.”
Christian estimated that 70 percent of their annual calls are emergency medical service-related and the other 30 percent are comprised of fires, technical rescues, hazardous materials calls and other issues.
“We continually strive to provide the best service we can in a constantly changing environment,” he said.