Elgin police celebrate promotions, retirement

Elgin police Lt. Al Young realized he'd been picked to serve as commander when his fellow lieutenants told him they didn't get the job.

Officer Travis Hooker went straight to the library to check out books on leadership when he found out he would be promoted sergeant.

Those were among the stories told during a ceremony Friday at the Centre of Elgin marking the promotions of Young, Hooker and Sgt. Jim Bisceglie, now a lieutenant.

Young, a 25-year-veteran of the police department, is a great communicator, Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said.

"You listen not just to the people you agree with but listen to your detractors," he said, "and Al is very good at that."

Young has served in the patrol, juvenile and major investigations divisions, the drug unit, SWAT team, and as a resident officer and school resource officer. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Columbia College.

Young said that being passed over for the promotion two or three times in the past pushed him to work on his shortcomings. "I took the challenges and recommendations from the chief, and I became better," he said, also crediting the support of his mother Thelma.

Bisceglie was hired in 2001 and has served in the patrol division and drug unit. He has a master's degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University.

The department encourages creativity, which in turns leads to innovative ideas such as creating a technical investigations unit, Bisceglie said.

"The younger guys here have the opportunity of a lifetime," he said.

Hooker was hired in 1997 and served in the patrol division and as a K-9 officer. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from Judson University.

Humility and taking responsibility are the best tools for leadership, Hooker said.

"The true unsung heroes are the families of the officers," he said, pointing to his parents and children Kaitlyn, 12, and Luke, 8.

The event also marked the retirement of Cmdr. Dan O'Shea, who will begin serving Monday as police chief in Rockford.

O'Shea has an unfailingly reasonable approach to the job and is a great team member, Swoboda said. "There is no pouting. No complaining. Dan is all in with the command staff."

O'Shea thanked his wife of 23-plus years, Cathy, and credited police and city officials with his success.

"It is a great city, it's a great department. It absolutely cultivates great officers and empowers officers," he said. "And it leads to a lot of great friendships that I am going to truly miss."

O'Shea is the fourth Elgin officer in as many years to be selected to serve as chief in another community.

The others include Cecil Smith in Sanford, Florida; Jim Lamkin in St. Charles and now Schaumburg; and Glenn Theriault in Sycamore.

"We should be proud," Swoboda said, "that we are associated with a police department that has a such a deep bench."

Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.comRetiring Elgin Police Cmdr. Dan O'Shea, left, accepts a plaque of badges from Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swodboda at the Centre of Elgin Friday. O'Shea will be moving on to work with the Rockford Police Department.
Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.comElgin Police Cmdr. Dan O'Shea (facing) hugs retired Elgin Police Sergeant Gary Neal before O'Shea's retirement ceremony at the Centre of Elgin Friday. Neal retired last year. O'Shea will be working with the Rockford Police Department.
Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.comElgin Police Lt. Al Young stands with his mother, Thelma Young of Elgin, as he is sworn in by Elgin City Clerk Kim Dewis to the new role of commander with the police department during a ceremony at the Centre of Elgin Friday.
Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.comAs his daughter Charlotte, 6, looks up to him, Elgin Police Sgt. Jim Bisceglie is sworn in to the role of police lieutenant by Elgin City Clerk at the Centre of Elgin Friday.
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