Decorated police officer with controversial past promoted in Island Lake
A decorated Island Lake police officer who returned to the force last year under controversial circumstances was promoted to sergeant this week, officials have confirmed.
Billy Dickerson was awarded stripes by the village's fire and police commission Monday night. The three-member panel unanimously agreed to promote him and officer Nick Deuter.
Neither Dickerson nor Deuter could be reached for comment Friday.
Deuter had been serving as a temporary sergeant since September. He had been a sergeant since 2011, but officials have said they discovered he and two other officers were promoted improperly.
Fire and police commission member Arnie Epstein said the panelists felt Dickerson and Deuter "were the two that showed the best leadership."
Deuter and another temporary sergeant, Garrett Schmoeller, were atop the department's promotions list earlier this month. Schmoeller -- who, like Deuter, reportedly had been promoted improperly to sergeant under a previous administration -- was passed over this week, however.
Police commission member Debra Jenkins said Schmoeller didn't score as well on required tests as Deuter and Dickerson.
The candidates were ranked based on oral and written exams, military service, departmental service and points from Police Chief Don Bero, Jenkins said.
Dickerson received a village Life Saving Award in December 2013 after he cleared the airway of a teenager who was unconscious and not breathing.
Dickerson started working as an Island Lake police officer in 2009 but was removed from the job in 2010. He was reinstated last year, after Mayor Charles Amrich was elected and Bero took over as chief.
Before reinstatement, Dickerson argued he was improperly terminated and that his dismissal never was approved by the fire and police commission as required by law.
A divided village board reinstated him in summer 2013. Amrich cast a tiebreaking vote to give him a job.
In 2011, while not working as a police officer, Dickerson was arrested by Island Lake police and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery following an incident at his home, records indicate. Dickerson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in October 2012 and was sentenced to six months of court supervision.
Epstein told the Daily Herald he wasn't aware of Dickerson's criminal conviction.
When asked if that knowledge would have affected his vote, Epstein said, "That's hard to say."
Jenkins knew about Dickerson's conviction but said it wasn't a factor for her.
"I know him and I know the truth," Jenkins said. "He's not an aggressive or violent person."