A veteran police officer with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has started his new job as the district's chief of law enforcement.
David Pederson was appointed last month by Executive Director Ed Stevenson to replace the former chief, Martin Gainer, who retired in February after eight months in the position. Pederson was sworn in during Tuesday's forest preserve meeting.
"I am honored to be given this opportunity to serve you, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and all who come to visit the forest preserves and facilities we offer," Pederson said to forest preserve commissioners. "I look forward to continuing a long career with the district and look to improve relationships and to assist all departments within the district."
Pederson has been with the district since June 2001 and moved up the ranks through the years. After serving as a ranger police officer though April 2011, Pederson became a ranger police sergeant. He held that position until he was named a ranger police lieutenant in July 2015.
Pederson had been serving as acting chief since Gainer retired.
In his new role, Pederson said he wants district law enforcement officers to receive the proper training "and perform their duties with the utmost integrity." He said he also wants to make fiscally responsible decisions to ensure the progress of the department.
He will be paid an annual salary of $112,500.
In a June 21 email announcing the appointment, Stevenson said Pederson's background and education "is an additional attribute that makes Dave well suited to lead law enforcement for an organization that connects people to nature."
Pederson graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a bachelor of science in forestry with a specialization in outdoor recreation and resources management. Four years ago, he graduated from Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command.
Forest preserve President Joe Cantore said Pederson is uniquely qualified to understand the relationship between law enforcement and conservation.
"I'm confident that Chief Pederson will lead our team to keep our preserves safe and enjoyable for our visitors for years to come," he said.