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updated: 3/28/2014 6:16 PM

Police force says hello and goodbye on the same day

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  • Retiring Elgin Police Sgt. Don Thiel holds up the badge he was given in 1988 when he was sworn in to the department during his retirement speech at police headquarters. Friday's event was a combined retirement, promotion and swearing in ceremony.

       Retiring Elgin Police Sgt. Don Thiel holds up the badge he was given in 1988 when he was sworn in to the department during his retirement speech at police headquarters. Friday's event was a combined retirement, promotion and swearing in ceremony.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Retiring Elgin Police Sgt. Don Thiel gets a hug from his son, Danny, after giving his retirement speech Friday. Danny, 21, is in the Air Force, based in New Jersey, and flew in for the ceremony.

       Retiring Elgin Police Sgt. Don Thiel gets a hug from his son, Danny, after giving his retirement speech Friday. Danny, 21, is in the Air Force, based in New Jersey, and flew in for the ceremony.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Elgin Police Officer Mike Gough, a sketch artist, holds up his retirement plaque, telling the crowd gathered "This is for you" at the Elgin Police Department headquarters Friday.

       Elgin Police Officer Mike Gough, a sketch artist, holds up his retirement plaque, telling the crowd gathered "This is for you" at the Elgin Police Department headquarters Friday.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Elgin Police Detective Norma Thiel receives her retirement plaque Friday from Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda at the department's retirement, promotion and swearing in ceremony.

       Elgin Police Detective Norma Thiel receives her retirement plaque Friday from Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda at the department's retirement, promotion and swearing in ceremony.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Retiring Elgin Police Sgt. Don Thiel holds back tears after turning in his badge Friday at headquarters.

       Retiring Elgin Police Sgt. Don Thiel holds back tears after turning in his badge Friday at headquarters.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kelly Wood returns to her seat after pinning the sergeant badge on her husband, Sgt. Bill Wood, Friday at the Elgin Police Department. Wood was the department's liaison officer at Elgin High School.

       Kelly Wood returns to her seat after pinning the sergeant badge on her husband, Sgt. Bill Wood, Friday at the Elgin Police Department. Wood was the department's liaison officer at Elgin High School.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Newly promoted Elgin police Sgt. Bill Wood is congratulated by his sister, Cheryl Hagan, of Streamwood, after his swearing in Friday. Their cousin, Kraig Barkemeyer, came in from Slidell, La., for the celebration.

       Newly promoted Elgin police Sgt. Bill Wood is congratulated by his sister, Cheryl Hagan, of Streamwood, after his swearing in Friday. Their cousin, Kraig Barkemeyer, came in from Slidell, La., for the celebration.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Bill Wood, the Elgin Police Department's former liaison for Elgin High School, was promoted and sworn in Friday as sergeant. Chief Jeff Swoboda looks on.

       Bill Wood, the Elgin Police Department's former liaison for Elgin High School, was promoted and sworn in Friday as sergeant. Chief Jeff Swoboda looks on.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Elgin Police Department celebrated several new hires, a few retirements and a promotion in a ceremony Friday afternoon.

Four new officers were sworn in: Michael McCarthy, 33, Daniel Kazy-Garey, 25, Martin Vega, 24, and Latasha Williams, 34.

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Officer Bill Wood, who was the department's liaison for Elgin High School until last summer, was promoted to sergeant.

His wife, Kelly, pinned the new badge on him. Wood's sister, Cheryl Hagan, of Streamwood, and a cousin from Louisiana, where Wood grew up, were on hand for the ceremony.

Among those who retired are husband and wife Sgt. Don Thiel and Detective Norma Thiel, who are lifelong Elgin residents.

"From the time I started here, I was blessed to be around people who were good at what they did," Don Thiel said.

Officer Mike Gough, the department's longtime sketch artist, and Abbot Middle School liaison officer Detective Leon Filas also retired.

Elgin Police Chief Swoboda said the department's authorized number of officers -- as per city policy -- is 180, down from a high of 194 or so before the 2008 recession.

The department's diversity of gender and ethnicity slightly increased compared to last year.

Among Elgin's 180 officers, 19 are women, including Cmdr. Ana Lalley, compared to 18 last year, according to data provided by the department.

There are 12 black officers -- one more than last year -- along with 144 white officers, 20 Hispanic officers, three Asian officers and one identified as "other."

Several Elgin City Council members have said that diversity, including within the fire and police departments, are among their priorities.

New hires go through a monthlong in-house training, followed by 12 weeks at the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and field training in Elgin, Swoboda said.

Retirements tend to come in waves, often because people are hired at the same time, he said. Officers can retire after 20 years, but can't collect a pension until they are at least 50 years old, he said.

New officers bring in a new set of eyes, and are often good with technology, Swoboda said.

"It's bittersweet," he said. "We lose some stellar people in the police department, and we get some new people. I think that's a good thing -- new ideas, new perspectives."

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