Sauk Village Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency
Established by ordinance on July 9, 1957, E.S.D.A., then known as Civil Defense, was part of every village and town's municipal structure. This was in answer to the Federal Government's concentration on the Cold War. The Civil Defense Organization was to prevent, minimize, repair, and alleviate injury or damage resulting from disaster caused by enemy attack, sabotage, or other hostile action. It was geared to providing communities with instructions in the event of war. Monies were provided for equipment and supplies. Surplus equipment was provided at a reduced cost from the military. Emergency Operation Centers, known as EOCs were established throughout the country down to the local levels of government. Training in radiological monitoring, shelter management, communications, traffic and crowd control, resource management and other related fields became the norm.
In the 50's and 60's Sauk Village had mostly a paper organization, signing up the local VFW and Legion and Holy Name members, as well as police and firemen and public works members. It had at one time over 150 members registered on paper and available for disasters.
In 1972, the Village began to phase out the paper organization with active members who began to train and acquire equipment. In 1973, the Village purchased a Dodge Van and 6 portable radios to supplement the members own CB radios. At this point in time, members had to provide their own radios and vehicles and most of their own equipment.
On September 28, 1976, the name was changed from Civil Defense to Sauk Village Emergency Services and Disaster Agency. Around this same time, then Fire Chief Leroy Hawkins and the Police Department began more extensive training of members. The Fire Chief asked the Village to allow E.S.D.A. to respond to all accidents and fire calls to assist with traffic and crowd control. Until this time, Civil Defense had handled parking details at Village events and assisted the police with traffic control for parades. As the requests became more numerous, it was realized that much more training was needed and members began to attend regular training sessions given by local, county and state police instructors. By this time the membership had dropped to about 40 members. Uniforms were purchased and a chain of command was established and is still in use today.
In 1976 the Village had the honor of having the bicentennial wagon trail stop here overnight enroute to Valley Forge. This was the first large function E.S.D.A. planned for and the members responded well enough to receive a personal letter from the wagon master stating "it was the only stop so far that the train experienced no theft".
On September 8, 1990, Sauk Village E.S.D.A. officially became a designated unit of the Sauk Village Fire Department. In the mid 90's E.S.D.A. members were allotted call pay, similar to the Fire Department. Until that time, members received no compensation whatsoever.
On June 22, 2004, the Village of Sauk Village placed E.S.D.A. under both the Police Department and Fire Department.
As time went on, the organization went through several changes, added vehicles and communications equipment. Sauk Village E.S.D.A. is well known throughout the southern suburbs. It has provided service to the Illinois State Police, the Cook County Sheriff's Police, Will County Sheriff's Police, the City of Chicago and the surrounding communities for over 30 years. Its members are continuing their training in several areas and will continue to do so well into the 21st century.
On February 28, 2003, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5. HSPD-5 directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS integrates effective practices in emergency preparedness and response into a comprehensive national framework for incident management. NIMS will enable all emergency responders at all levels to work together more effectively to manage domestic incidents no matter what the cause, size or complexity. On September 14, 2004, the Village of Sauk Village signed NIMS into ordinance.
On July 12, 2005, the Village of Sauk Village signed an ordinance to participate in the Illinois Emergency Management Mutual Aid System as well as entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency Association.
In September 2005, Sauk Village E.S.D.A., in conjunction with other Sauk Village Municipal Departments, revised and completed an Emergency Operations Plan that will serve as a guideline for all emergencies now and in the future.
On June 25, 2013 Sauk Village E.S.D.A. underwent yet another name change. As the duties and responsibilities of emergency services evolve to fit our changing culture, it became necessary for a change that would bring E.S.D.A. in line with Federal, State, and County recognized organizations. On this date, the Village of Sauk Village passed an ordinance officially changing E.S.D.A. to the Sauk Village Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The organization currently has 11 members, 5 vehicles and has communications equipment to cover all Village radio channels.