Oak Brook (IL) Police Department
Many police departments encounter challenges monitoring large public events. Large crowds at fairs, sporting events and public gatherings make it difficult to cover the ground required to effectively respond to calls for service. Squad cars and other traditional police department vehicles can't always move efficiently through crowded streets and across parks. Even officers on bicycles can have a difficult time responding appropriately to emergencies due to their limited ability to carry the necessary equipment. Therefore, many departments are looking for new ways to get around in these situations.
The Oak Brook (IL) Police Department had, until recently, experienced these same challenges. Located 10 miles west of downtown Chicago, the village is primarily a residential community with an automobile focus, crisscrossed by major state and federal highways, the Tri-State Tollway and the Eisenhower Expressway. The problem came when the department tried to use cars to maintain a presence at village events like the fireworks-and-food festival they host at a large local park every year. While the department was able to use officers on bicycles to serve these events for a time, the growth of the village and proliferation of similar events sent them looking for a vehicle that could do more.
In the summer of 2019, they bought a RANGER CREW XP 900 off-road vehicle to help them more effectively patrol public events. They chose a police light package, winch, siren, and also outfitted the vehicle with white lighting on all sides, which proved to be useful during a nighttime search for a missing person. Since the weather can be difficult more than half the year, they also had a heater installed so they could use their RANGER year round.
The department's new vehicle has been well-received by officers and citizens alike. According to Commander Mark King of the Patrol Division, "the vehicle has been a big hit everywhere and every time we have it in the public eye."
Commander King also reports that one of the benefits of having their RANGER outfitted with the law enforcement package is the message it sends to the citizens. He reports the vehicle is effective for missions and calls they have, while also making his officers more accessible when they use it at events. In the words of one of the officers who regularly patrolled events on a bike, "[the RANGER] works better than the bike. When we pull up in this, everybody knows we are the police and we mean business."