Don Bero resigns as Island Lake police chief, citing 'personal and health reasons'
Two months after a brain aneurysm forced him to take a leave of absence, Island Lake Police Chief Don Bero has resigned.
Mayor Charles Amrich announced Bero's departure during Thursday night's village board meeting. Amrich gave trustees copies of a brief resignation letter signed by Bero that was dated April 16.
In the letter, the 67-year-old Bero cited "personal and health reasons" for resigning.
Amrich couldn't be reached for comment Friday.
In a telephone interview, Trustee Keith Johns called Bero an asset to the village who will be greatly missed.
"He certainly had the respect of his officers," Johns said. "He loved the village of Island Lake and always wanted to do what was in its best interests."
Deputy Police Chief David Walz continues to serve as acting chief. Walz has filled in for Bero since the emergency.
Trustee Mark Beeson said he wasn't troubled that Amrich took a week to notify the board or the public about Bero's resignation. Walz already was running the department, Beeson said, so there wasn't a leadership gap.
"It didn't seem to me to be an urgent thing to tell the public," Beeson told the Daily Herald. "It could be released at the next board meeting."
Bero collapsed at his Wauconda home Feb. 9. He was discovered by police officers after a neighbor who was concerned about an open door called authorities.
Bero had been Island Lake's police chief since Amrich took office in May 2013. He also was chief from 2003 to 2005, at the end of Amrich's first stint as mayor.
He previously had worked as a police officer in West suburban Broadview, as a part-time officer and code enforcement officer in Island Lake and as a process server for the McHenry County sheriff's office.
Officials will address hiring a new chief next month, interim Village Clerk Jen Gomez said. Under state law, the mayor will nominate a police chief candidate who then will be approved or rejected by the village board.
Johns said Walz is "absolutely a front-runner" for the post. He praised the 26-year department veteran for getting involved in budget planning and other village issues.
When asked if officials should look outside the department for chief candidates, Beeson said the decision lies with Amrich.