Wauconda Police Chief Patrick Yost to retire in July
Wauconda Police Chief Patrick Yost will retire when his contract expires in July, officials announced Wednesday.
Yost has led the police department since August 2013. He told trustees of his plans to retire during a closed-door meeting Tuesday night, officials said.
Yost's ascension to chief was controversial.
His predecessor, Douglas Larsson, was forced out of the job by Mayor Frank Bart shortly after Bart took office in May 2013.
Bart intended to name Yost -- then a sergeant -- as the new chief but didn't have the full support of the village board. Some trustees and many residents were unhappy about how Larsson was shown the door, a move that led to public protests.
Bart sidestepped the trustees and unilaterally named Yost the department's interim chief.
He kept the interim tag until June 2014, when Bart finally asked the board to give Yost the job. The board approved the nomination with a unanimous vote.
The contract the board approved that night is set to expire July 9, 2015. That's when Yost will retire, officials confirmed.
Yost couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.
Yost, of Wauconda, spent 26 years with the department, first as a patrol officer and then working his way up to sergeant and, for a time, deputy chief.
In a news release, Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner credited Yost for being engaged with the Wauconda community, not just as a police officer but also with the local chamber of commerce, the American Legion and other groups.
Maxeiner also touted Yost's dedication to the local St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraisers to battle juvenile cancer. Yost annually shaved his head as part of the popular program.
"Chief Yost has dedicated himself to the village of Wauconda and its citizens for the past 26 years to make the community a safe place to live, work and play," Maxeiner said in the release.
Trustee Tim Howe, who was not on the village board in 2013, was among the residents who publicly criticized the procedure that led to Yost's promotion.
On Wednesday, Howe praised Yost for "(doing) an excellent job under difficult circumstances."
"(It was) not an easy situation for him to come into," Howe said. "He handled it with grace."
Trustee Ken Arnswald said he wasn't surprised by Yost's decision to leave the department. Arnswald acknowledged the difficult start Yost had as chief and commended him "for sticking it out."
The process for finding the town's next police chief hasn't been determined, Maxeiner said. He's proposing hiring a professional firm to look inside and outside the department for candidates. Maxeiner said he hopes trustees could authorize such a search at the June 2 meeting.