Ousted Wauconda chief joining Lake sheriff's office
Two months after being ousted as Wauconda's police chief, Douglas Larsson is taking a leadership job with the Lake County sheriff's office.
Starting Monday, Larsson will serve as a deputy chief in the corrections division, which includes the jail and related programs.
Sheriff Mark Curran offered Larsson the job after receiving strong recommendations from Undersheriff Raymond J. Rose and DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba, among others who know the veteran cop.
"I was very impressed," Curran told the Daily Herald on Thursday. "He's on the cutting edge as far as what's transpiring in law enforcement."
Larsson will work with Chief David Wathen and Deputy Chief Theodore Uchiek in the corrections division, which has 188 employees. He expects policy development and enhancing services will be the crux of the job.
Eventually, Larsson hopes to begin the accreditation process for the entire sheriff's office.
He's excited about the opportunity.
"It allows me to continue my career, (which) I value highly, and serve the county," said Larsson, 62, of Antioch. "I like working for law enforcement in Lake County."
Larsson had served as Wauconda's chief for nearly four years. He was forced from the job in a very public battle of wills with Mayor Frank Bart.
Bart claimed he wanted Larsson gone to reduce village costs. He was replaced by Patrick Yost.
Larsson previously had been chief in Round Lake Beach for six years.
Before that, he spent 30 years with the Rolling Meadows Police Department, rising from dispatcher to deputy chief.
"Here's a guy who has been in the game for a long time," Curran said.
Larsson will earn $111,000 a year as a deputy chief in the sheriff's office, less than the $119,000 salary he had in Wauconda.
Larsson is the second former police chief from Lake County to join the sheriff's administration in recent months.
Rose was named undersheriff in September after retiring as chief of the Mundelein Police Department.
Rose is looking forward to working with Larsson. Colleagues for four decades, Rose praised Larsson's experience and knowledge.
"(Hiring Larsson) brings a fresh look to the total organization and allows us to evaluate and review where we are and more importantly where we're going," Rose said.
Jail operations were in the spotlight in 2012 after the deaths of two inmates.
Lyvita Gomes of Vernon Hills died in January 2012 after a hunger strike at the jail. She was dehydrated and malnourished, an autopsy showed. Eugene Gruber of Grayslake died in March 2012, about four months after a violent confrontation with a guard at the jail. No one was criminally charged in either death. A final report from an independent investigation ordered last year has not yet been issued.
Although he expressed concern over the two deaths, Larsson said he wasn't hired to directly deal with those cases.
"I'm not being brought in as a reformer," Larsson said. "I'm being brought in as a resource."
Curran, a Libertyville Republican who's been sheriff since 2006, had considered running for state attorney general, but changed his mind in February. He'll seek a third term n 2014.