With his 20th anniversary as Mundelein's police chief approaching, Raymond J. Rose says he's decided the time is right to retire.
After he steps down Jan. 31, Rose will leave a career that includes work on a host of regional law-enforcement issues, and serving as the lead investigator in Elk Grove Village on the notorious murders of Patricia Columbo's father, mother and 13-year-old brother in 1976.
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"I mean, 20 years is a long time," said Rose, 65, who started as Mundelein's chief on Sept. 21, 1992. "I think it's good to consider what other options there are and kind of slow down a little bit, too. This a pretty hectic pace."
Early this week, Rose disclosed his intention to retire to Mundelein Mayor Kenneth Kessler and village board trustees. In an interview at his office Thursday, Rose said he won't sit idle but has yet to decide what he'll do after he's done as top cop.
The Mundelein resident said he believes more opportunities and new challenges will be available to him as word of his impending retirement spreads. He said he's unsure whether he'd want to collect a pension and lead another, smaller police department.
When asked if he has any political aspirations, Rose said: "I don't know that I would say 'no' right now."
Rose came to Mundelein from the Elk Grove Village Police Department, where he spent 24 years and worked up to deputy chief. He the lead investigator in the horrific Columbo murder case.
Patricia Columbo and Frank DeLuca each are serving 200 to 300 years in prison for the murders. Columbo has unsuccessfully sought parole at least 15 times, and Rose vows to continue appearing at her hearings to object to the request as long as he's alive.
Rose has chronicled how Columbo, then 19, plotted for eight months to kill her family, soliciting friends and acquaintances to carry out the murders. She ultimately executed her plan on May 4, 1976, with the help of DeLuca, her 37-year-old boyfriend.
Mike Kirkpatrick, who retired as Elk Grove Village's deputy police chief in May 2011, worked under Rose early in his career. Kirkpatrick said Rose set a good example for him at work and served as a mentor.
"He was always someone you looked up to because he was a detective sergeant (at the time). He was one of the leaders at the department," Kirkpatrick said.
Rose's work has gone beyond the Mundelein and Elk Grove Village police departments.
He was part of a committee that drafted legislation, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last month, allowing schools and law enforcement to share more information if a student is the subject of a police investigation or has been taken into custody. That legislation was inspired by the 2008 attack on Elgin High School teacher Carolyn Gilbert by a troubled student.
In April, Rose and Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes combined on an effort to recognize 18 students from three middle schools near Mundelein for making improvements academically and behaviorally during the 2012-13 academic year.
Rose's reach also extended into roles with the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, Lake County Major Crime Task Force and the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory in Vernon Hills.
Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko said he's viewed Rose as a go-to guy for difficult law-enforcement issues and lauded him for being an "old-school cop" open to new ideas, such as co-chairing Lake County Underage Drinking Prevention Task Force. He said it's just one example of Rose thinking about the big picture.
"He's the one guy who can bring law enforcement executives in Lake County together to communicate," Filenko added.
Mundelein's Kessler said the village will look internally and outside the department for Rose's replacement. He said he aims to recommend a new chief for village board ratification in February.
Kessler said Rose has been a dedicated chief who created a department that treats people with respect by giving the same level of attention to big and small cases. He said Rose deserves credit for getting rid of a gang element that existed in the village in the early 1990s.
"I think Ray is responsible for 20 years of improvement in the town of Mundelein as far as its reputation and crime-free environment," Kessler said.