Riverside Twp. awards grants to local police, fire

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By BOB UPHUES

Riverside Township ended 2005 by awarding grants to the Brookfield and Riverside police departments as well as the Riverside and North Riverside fire departments.

The township granted $5,740 to the Riverside Fire Department to purchase a new power unit and hoses for their jaws of life rescue apparatus, which is used to extricate crash victims from their vehicles.

According to Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Mulligan, the new unit will allow the operator to control more than one tool at a time, making extrications faster.

The Riverside Fire Department expects delivery of the power unit this month, and it will be housed on the main rescue truck located at the department's main fire station.

The Brookfield Police Department received a $1,907 grant to buy seven pedestrian crossing signs that will be placed at key locations to help make busy crossings safer. In November Police Chief Thomas Schoenfeld requested the signs, which are similar to those placed last summer in downtown Riverside.

"There were some resident complaints, especially at the time of the Maple Avenue road construction last summer," Schoenfeld said. "With traffic being diverted to Prairie, the intersection near the tracks was very difficult for pedestrians to cross. It's often like that even when there's no construction."

Schoenfeld contacted Riverside police, who said their signs had made a difference in slowing down traffic through Riverside's sometimes tricky intersections at Longcommon Road/Forest Avenue/East Burlington Street and at Riverside Road/Burling Road/East Quincy Street near the village hall and Riverside Library.

"With the ones in the center of town, the crossing guards have told us they've made their job easier," said Riverside Assistant Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.

Although the Prairie Avenue/Grand Boulevard intersection of Brookfield lies within Proviso Township, signs will also be placed at the intersection of Hollywood and Washington avenues near Hollywood School, which is in Riverside Township, and the intersection of Grand Boulevard near the Brookfield Public Library.

"We thought it was a great grant to provide to our residents in Brookfield," said Riverside Township Supervisor Patricia Pavlich.

The North Riverside Fire department picked up a $2,000 grant from Riverside Township in November to purchase a rescue apparatus called a "stair stretcher." Used to reach people in tight spaces, basements and hallways, the stair stretcher looks like a chair and uses a track to traverse stairs.

The Riverside Police Department in October received a $350 grant from Riverside Township to purchase SmartDraw computer software, which can be used to complete computerized drawings for crime scenes and accident scenes.

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