By 1900 special police officers were named in the spring of the year and appointed at other times of peak activity during the year. This practice continued until well after World War II. Many local citizens acted in the capacity of local watchdog during the daytime working hours. Special police were paid substantial amounts of money through the years, particularly during periods when one policeman left and another was not yet hired. Palatine had special auxiliary police, called deputies, until 1979 when the unit was disbanded.
Henry C. Schroeder was the first official chief of police. Schroeder served as chief for two periods of time: 1910 to 1920 and 1928 to 1934. The first uniformed, salaried chief of police was Charles G. Folz, who was appointed in February 1942. His department had two policemen, Orville Helms and Oscar Weide. The fringe benefits of the job back in the forties was a lot different than today. In June, 1943, the chief was allowed a two week vacation and officers one week. Leisure time was limited too, police got one day off every two weeks. By October 1946 the department had grown to four and in May of 1949 five.
Today, especially during the warm weather months, a common sight is a Palatine officer patrolling on one of the Department’s Harley Davidson motorcycles. The motorized age began for the police department in 1925 with the purchase of two motorcycles. In 1928 the Board decided to sell one motorcycle and pay the officers $15 a month to use their own cars. Officer today may upon occasion still use their own vehicles and be compensated for mileage; however, it is only for traveling to and from training.
Palatine’s police fleet today is made up of marked cars, motorcycles, and mountain bicycles. Police drive many different makes and models, the most common being the Ford Crown Victoria. The first Palatine police car was a two door, trunk-back Buick which cost $813 in 1938.
Communications took a giant step forward in 1948 when the police department acquired radio equipment. Officers today communicate via two-way mobile radio, portable radio, and mobile data terminals in the police vehicles. In 2000, the Police Department saw their communication capability take another giant leap when Northwest Central Dispatch and the member Departments realized digital radio trunking. Trunking gives the police the capability of securing individual channels for special and emergency use and permits multiple users to key their microphones at the same time, with the system’s internal controller providing a channel for the user.
As the Village of Palatine has grown from a sleepy, little town on the outskirts of the Chicago area to a major metropolitan suburb, the police department too has grown. In 1951 the department was made up of the chief, a captain, a lieutenant, a sergeant and six patrolmen. Today the department is composed of 153 employees: 112 sworn officers and 41 civilians.