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posted: 11/16/2013 8:00 AM

Lake Zurich's top cop retiring this month

After 29 years on the force, Finlon says he wants to ensure he'll get a pension

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  • Lake Zurich Police Chief Patrick Finlon says he'll retire later this month. He's been chief since 2008 and with the village's police department for 29 years.

      Lake Zurich Police Chief Patrick Finlon says he'll retire later this month. He's been chief since 2008 and with the village's police department for 29 years.
    Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer


Lake Zurich Police Chief Patrick Finlon says concern about uncertainty in Illinois' public pension program is leading him to retire later this month.

Finlon, 53, has been Lake Zurich's top cop since 2008. He started with Lake Zurich as a patrol officer in 1984 and will have spent his entire law-enforcement career there when he departs Nov. 25.

His brother, Kevin Finlon, has been named interim police chief. Kevin Finlon has been Lake Zurich's deputy police chief.

By purchasing credit for two years he served in the U.S. Army, Patrick Finlon has eclipsed the 30-year mark he needed to receive a full village police pension. He said it was in September when he decided retirement would be in his best financial interest.

"I have some significant concerns about any changes in pension legislation, so what I'd like to do is make sure that I guarantee a pension before they change the laws," Finlon told the Daily Herald.

Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton, a former trustee who won the seat in the April election, reappointed Finlon for another year after taking office. Poynton complimented Finlon for his friendliness and accessibility while working long hours.

"We certainly were more than happy with the quality work he provided," Poynton said Friday.

Poynton said there is no specific timetable for finding Finlon's replacement. He said the village has received 104 resumes.

Lake Zurich's elected officials Monday night plan to issue a proclamation honoring Finlon's 29 years with the police department. In part, the document states he's been an exemplary leader, demonstrating the highest degree of selflessness and concern for residents.

Finlon's tenure as chief includes twice gaining reaccreditation for the police department from a national organization, expanding dispatch services to Island Lake and starting the Citizens Police Academy. He also served as president of the Lake County Association of Chiefs of Police.

He said he's proud of becoming the first Lake Zurich High School resource officer in 1986.

He said he was familiar with the program from when he attended Elk Grove High School.

"So, it was not unfamiliar to me, but it was a new concept to Lake Zurich," Finlon said.

Finlon was a telecommunications specialist in the Army for two years, then landed a job in Hoffman Estates as a fire and police dispatcher from 1982 to 1984. He was hired in Lake Zurich in February 1984 and worked his way to chief in 2008.

He said he plans to do something after his police department career ends but doesn't have anything lined up and intends to take it easy the rest of the year. He said he'll miss his colleagues when he leaves.

"I've known the majority of these people I work with for all their careers," he said. "And we do have a very good police department. Good reputation, good quality individuals. And I think that's what I'll probably miss the most."

Retiring: Chief was high school's first resource cop in 1986

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