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Charles P. O'Reilly

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I Couldn't Say No
Charles P. O'Reilly  More Info

About the Elmhurst Police Department

By 1880, the population of Elmhurst had grown to 723 mainly due to the displacement of many people by the "Great Chicago Fire". Elmhurst saw a need to organize a police and fire department as morality and values changed, and incorporated as a village in 1882. The first law enforcement officer for Elmhurst was Constable Henry C. Hohmann who was appointed on July 22, 1882. Ordinances were passed which established a foundation for the newly appointed constable. Over the next 19 years Elmhurst would have 9 constables.


Today, the Elmhurst Police Department is organized into several divisions: Operations Division, Detective Division, Records Division, Traffic Division and Bicycle Division. The Operations Division is the larger of the two divisions consisting of 108 full and part-time employees. The Operations Division provides essential services to the community in the areas of patrol, traffic and emergency response. These services are available around the clock 365 days per year. All 911 calls are assigned to Operations Division units, which are divided into three primary eight-hour shifts and an additional afternoon shift, which provides extra personnel during peak periods.


The Operations Division of the Elmhurst Police Department also contains special units such as: Community Oriented Policing Program; Emergency Response Team; and Canine Unit.  Twelve sworn officers and two civilian employees staff the Detective Division of the Elmhurst Police Department. The division is responsible for the follow-up of criminal complaints, proactive vice/narcotic investigations and all juvenile issues




Charles P. O’Reilly was a police officer for the Elmhurst Police Department (Illinois) for over 20 years. His book, I Couldn’t Say No, is a memoir of his life and career.  ccording to the book description, “For people that know early on what they want to be in life, whether doctor, lawyer, engineer or accountant, their career pursuit is easy. But for the vast majority, the undecided, they must choose their slot in life differently. They do this through the experience of rejecting a host of jobs that for one reason or another just do not fit. Nobody learned this hard lesson better than the author. In I Couldn't Say No, the writer shows his often painful experiences going from apprentice field engineer to expediter, from a series of sales jobs, to milkman and from bartender to store manager trainee. Through a federal jury assignment and a stroke of luck his destiny changed. At age thirty-one with six years of marriage and a family of four, he finally found what he was looking for when he took a police officer's exam in Elmhurst, Illinois and passed. Originally it was to be temporary until he could land a Border Patrol job...instead it was a happy twenty-year career.”

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