With Naperville Police Chief Dave Dial looking on, super villains Flattop Jones Sr. and Pruneface took over Naperville's Riverwalk on Sunday.
Fortunately for law enforcement officers, however, their arch nemesis, none other than Dick Tracy himself, was on the way to set up shop by the river.
In a ceremony honoring the life and work of longtime Naperville resident and Dick Tracy illustrator Dick Locher, 80, city officials unveiled a 9-foot statue of the famed private investigator.
When Dial first took over as chief in 1990, Locher sent him a Dick Tracy cartoon that welcomed him to the city. Since then, Locher has only increased his involvement with the police department, frequently drawing caricatures to help in crime prevention brochures and the department's annual crime prevention calendar.
"I cannot tell you enough about the things he has done for our community," Dial said. "Everybody knows Dick Tracy when they see him so it automatically draws their attention to it."
Locher assisted the strip's creator, Chester Gould, for four years in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1970, the Chicago Tribune hired Locher as an editorial cartoonist, and in 1983, Locher began a 26-year run as the Dick Tracy comic strip's artist. That run ended last year, but he still serves as its writer.
As he prepared to speak to the crowd of about 300, spread on both sides of the river and on the walk bridge nearby, Locher said he felt like a rock star and appreciated the gesture.
"It's a feeling like no other feeling," he said. "I've never felt anything like this."
The 2,000-pound sculpture cost roughly $150,000 and shows Dick Tracy running off to an assignment as he looks at his famous two-way radio watch.
General manager and chief sculptor Don Reed of River's Edge Foundry in Beloit, Wis., built the sculpture, which was paid for mostly by Naperville's Special Events and Cultural Amenities grants.
"This is bigger than life because Dick Tracy is an institution," said Naperville resident Tim Seeden, who stood on the south bank of the DuPage River as the ceremony took place.
Locher's friend and doctor, Dr. John Bochrath, said the humble and humorous speech that Locher gave was indicative of Locher's demeanor in private.
"It's a privilege to know him and words cannot describe it. He's a great guy," Bochrath said. "If I could clone him and fill my practice with people like him, work would be wonderful every day."
As for the sculpture, it sits in front of the Naperville Township building with a security camera trained directly on it. Dial said he welcomes any help the world's most famous private investigator can offer.
"I'm really glad to see the greatest detective on the planet here to help us watch over the Riverwalk and help keep us safe," Dial said.