The Oak Park Police Department is considering adding two new positions, though they wouldn’t be out patrolling the streets.

Oak Park placed ads for the new posts in the Jan. 5 edition of Wednesday Journal. Each could earn as much as $55,033 a year but would not be sworn officers of the department. Rather, they’d be focused on searching for grants and communicating with the community.

The “police budget coordinator” would put together and analyze the department’s budget and search and apply for any state or federal grant opportunities, said Police Chief Rick Tanksley. Previously that work was spread among several officers.

“It’s gotten to the point where we actually need someone to concentrate full time on this,” he said.

The other position is labeled as “police community liaison coordinator.” Duties would include developing and promoting ways for the community to interact with the police department, according to the job description.

Jan. 14 was the deadline to apply for the positions. Tanksley could not yet say how many applications were received as of Monday. He stressed the village won’t fill the new posts if it’s unhappy with the responses received.

Tanksley plans to shift around funds in his budget to pay for the $100,000 in new salaries, rather than increasing his expenditures.

Reached last week, Village Manager Tom Barwin said he supported creating the new positions because it will assure that the rest of the officers focus their efforts on fighting crime.

“Even though crime is down 12 percent in 2010, we want to stay on top of it,” he said.

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