A lack of evidence to make an arrest arising from ruse burglaries earlier this year thrust Deerfield Police Chief John Sliozis into a leadership role forming a task force that includes some of the state’s largest law enforcement agencies.
A ruse burglary occurs when one of the perpetrators distracts the resident of a home often luring the person into the back yard so others can enter the unlocked house and remove items, according to Sliozis.
Deerfield will band with the Illinois State Police, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, the Chicago Police Department, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Buffalo Grove and Mundelein to provide 10 officers to a task force to deal with ruse burglary full time. One will be from the Village.
“The officers from the task force will be dealing with nothing else,” Sliozis said. “They will be able to gather information and, if necessary, do surveillance. They can really focus on getting the job done.”
All officers will be deputized by the State Police so they can cross municipal lines when needed. When it appeared a group was operating out of a motel in Deerfield, the Village received help from other agencies but could not gather enough evidence to make an arrest. Sliozis does not want that to happen again.
“This will be their full time job,” Sliozis said. “We will recognize what is happening and get a jump on it. We will send the message this will not be condoned.”
Though the Village Board of Trustees gave Deerfield’s participation in the task force its unanimous consent Monday, it was not before questions were answered by Sliozis by some of the members.
“We can pull our officer back at any time,” Sliozis said when asked if it would take personnel away from other safety matters. Trustee Tom Jester wanted to know why other neighboring towns were not participating. “Eventually we except other communities to come in,” the chief answered.
Sliozis has a particular concern about ruse burglaries because a large number of the victims are senior citizens. He believes a rapid response is important because it is a more efficient way to gather information from that segment of the population.
“It is often more complicated to get information from people because of (what can come) with age,” Sliozis said. “They don’t always see as well or remember as well.”