Fox Lake ready to name interim police chief
A former police chief in Algonquin and Bartlett has been tapped to lead the Fox Lake Police Department on an interim basis.
Russell Laine will be sworn in as the village's interim-police chief during a village board meeting Tuesday, village officials confirmed late Friday.
Laine will replace outgoing interim chief Mike Keller, who returns to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
Laine served as police chief in Algonquin from 1985 through 2014. He also served as chief in Edgerton, Wisconsin, and in Bartlett, Illinois.
He is also a past-president for the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
"Our residents expect and deserve top-notch leaders delivering what is our most important service, which is keeping our community safe," Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said. "We are looking forward to working closely with Chief Laine in the coming months to continue the progress we have made in recent months to update our policies and procedures, bring needed training and resources to our officers and update our overall efforts to keep Fox Lake safe."
Laine is set to temporarily take over a department left reeling by the now-infamous suicide of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who staged his death to look like a murder to cover up years of theft from a police youth program.
But that wasn't the department's only black eye in 2015.
Previous chief Michael Behan was placed on paid leave in late August during an investigation into a December 2014 altercation between police and an intoxicated prisoner in a Fox Lake jail cell. Behan retired while on leave, less than two weeks before Gliniewicz's death.
Three Fox Lake police officers later were suspended for their roles in the confrontation. A fourth officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending an FBI investigation, authorities said. No criminal charges have been filed, nor has there been a lawsuit against the village in connection with the matter.
Additionally, a village investigation into the department that occurred last year revealed serious administrative problems, including a lack of basic communication, officials have said.
Village officials launched a search in August to replace the outgoing chief, then delayed naming a successor after leaders determined veteran interim leadership is needed to reform the department.
"More than anything, we need to bring proven leadership and stability to the FLPD so we can implement changes to modernize the department and ensure that we are doing everything we can to deliver professional and effective public safety services to our residents," Village Administrator Anne Marrin said in a news release Friday.
Laine and village officials agreed to a one-year contract this week. That contract is expected to be approved by the village board Tuesday night.
"It's an honor to be asked to serve the residents of Fox Lake and to work alongside Fox Lake police officers," Laine said in the news release. "I am fully aware of the very real challenges that this community and its police department have faced in recent months."
He also said his intention is to "set this department on a course for long-term success."
In 2007, Laine earned the Law Enforcement Recognition award from the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, and he helped introduce the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics in Algonquin and McHenry County. He has also lectured nationally and internationally on topics such as police ethics.