The Vernon Hills Police department has several full-time Community Service Officers, commonly referred to as CSOs. A CSO is a civilian (non-sworn) Department employee whose work includes responsibility for a variety of quasi law enforcement and general support activities. A CSO's work includes the enforcement of animal and parking violations, as well as the investigation of minor traffic crashes on private property and calls for general public service assistance. A CSO also:
- Assists with traffic control duties at the scene of a traffic crash.
- Investigates animal complaints including the apprehension and transport of stray or vicious animals. (More information on this below.) Read about the Vernon Hills animal ordinances.
- Assists disabled motorists.
- Assists motorists locked out of their vehicles.
- Patrols the village, looking for criminal activity, safety hazards and persons needing assistance.
A CSO's work involves considerable public contact, often under difficult circumstances.
In addition to the CSOs who are assigned to the Patrol Section, there are two additional CSOs who have completely different, yet important responsibilities on the Department. One of these CSOs is assigned full-time to the Investigations Section. This individual assists the investigators with telephone and clerical tasks. Another CSO is assigned as a full-time property officer. A property officer is accountable for all property acquired or stored by the Department. This CSO's responsibilities include the disposal of property in accordance with legal standards and having evidentiary property processed within the legal chain of custody requirements. While this job might not be glamorous, it requires the utmost in organization and record keeping skills. An error at this level can result in the dismissal of criminal charges against a defendant.