Elgin deputy chief leaving for ECC job

Elgin will have a new deputy police chief after Al Young, the department's highest ranking black officer, retires Tuesday to take a job as a commander with Elgin Community College police.

Cmdr. Colin Fleury will be promoted in a ceremony July 2 that will feature two more retirements and seven promotions.

"I love Elgin ... but it comes a time where we reach that magic point where it's beneficial for my family and me to continue my career (elsewhere)," Young, 51, said. Serving at ECC will allow him to stay in the community he's served for 28 years, he said. "It's just a very, very nice fit for me."

Police Chief Ana Lalley said Young has had a great career in Elgin and forged deep connections with the community over the years. She has especially appreciated his sense of humor and partnership since both were promoted in July 2018, she said.

Young's retirement comes before the conclusion of an investigation by a firm hired by the city into the March 2018 fatal police shooting of resident Decynthia Clements, who was black, by police Lt. Chris Jensen, who is white.

"The community may look at it as, 'the timing is strange' ... but we don't pick and choose the dates and the circumstances for things like this. I would love to have this job open a year from now, but that's not how things happen," Young said.

Also retiring Tuesday are Cmdr. Frank Trost and Sgt. Katy Potts. Once Young and Potts leave Elgin, the department will have seven black officers, none in supervisory positions, among its 183 officers.

Lalley said the department remains committed to fostering diversity among its ranks.

"We are here to serve the whole, entire community," she said.

Pastor Nat Edmond, who is black, is among a group of nearly 20 clergy in Elgin who advocate for Jensen's firing, a sentiment echoed by activists who have spoken before the city council several times in the past year.

Edmond said "he's disappointed and sorry" that Young is leaving the department, but respects his decision. "He was a real asset to the police department," Edmond said. "It will be a loss of the community for him not being there."

Jensen was cleared of wrongdoing by the Cook County's state attorney's office. The city hired the firm Hillard Heintze in late February to conduct an investigation into the shooting and the department's use of force policies. The investigation was expected to take about two months.

Lalley released Tuesday on Facebook a redacted state police report about the shooting investigation, which the Daily Herald obtained from the Cook County state's attorney in April.

Hillard Heintze will present the results of its investigation to the city council and then a decision will be made about Jensen's employment, Lalley said. The officer has been on paid leave since March 2018.

The other promotions July 2 are: Lts. Richard Ciganek and Adam Schuessler will be promoted to the ranks of commander; Sgts. Eric Echevarria and Matthew Udelhoven will be promoted to lieutenant; and officers Jeffrey Schultz, Anthony Rigano and Jonathan Rustay will be promoted to sergeant.

The deputy chief position requires residence within city limits. Fleury lives in Hampshire. Under city ordinance, Fleury has to move within city limits within two years but that can be extended by another three years at the discretion of the city manager "where there are practical difficulties or particular hardship" for doing so.

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