The Palatine Police Department introduced three new police officers and promoted five other members of the force this week in a ceremony before the village council.
The additions and promotions reflect the state of the department, which has seen a large staff turnover recently due to a high number of retirements.
Police Chief Alan Stoeckel said since the start of 2013, 12 officers have left the force, 10 of them for retirement. That has created opportunities for other officers to move up the ranks, he said.
Stoeckel knows those opportunities first hand -- he became chief just last month after the retirement of former chief John Koziol.
He said the reason for all of the retirements goes back to a fundamental change in department philosophy dating back to the late 1980s, when he was just beginning on the force.
The department at that time transitioned into a neighborhood-based policing model, aimed at involving police officers more in the community so they could fight crime proactively instead of reactively. Instead of simply responding to calls and patrolling a new area every two weeks, officers were assigned to one of the village's seven neighborhoods for at least a year at a time.
The initiative led to a hiring spree, one of the reasons why 26 Palatine officers have at least 20 years on the force, Stoeckel said.
"It lets us to be working smarter, which only happens when you are familiar with the community you serve," he added.
Stoeckel said he is excited to be chief during a time with so many new faces.
"Although we are going to miss (the retiring officers), it provides opportunity for others," Stoeckel said. "They understand that."
The officers receiving promotions were Dave Daigle, who is now the deputy chief of field operations; Steve Bratcher, who is now the midnight shift patrol watch commander; Larry Canada, who is now the neighborhood-based policing commander; Brian Growney, who is now a patrol sergeant on the midnight shift; Bill Nord, is now a patrol sergeant on the evening shift.
The newly hired police officers are Jason Kidd, Jonathan DeLuca and Thomas Murray.