Wauconda police chief seeking historical photos of department

  • Wauconda Police Chief David Wermes is collecting historical pictures of the police department for a project designed to boost morale.

    Wauconda Police Chief David Wermes is collecting historical pictures of the police department for a project designed to boost morale. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • The Bluesmobile makes its way down Phil's Beach in Wauconda during filming of "The Blues Brothers" in 1979. Photos of the car on the beach inspired current Police Chief David Wermes to put together a photo exhibition about the police department.

    The Bluesmobile makes its way down Phil's Beach in Wauconda during filming of "The Blues Brothers" in 1979. Photos of the car on the beach inspired current Police Chief David Wermes to put together a photo exhibition about the police department. Submitted Photo

  • This historical photo shows Wauconda's original police station. Chief David Wermes is collecting photographs to display at the current station.

    This historical photo shows Wauconda's original police station. Chief David Wermes is collecting photographs to display at the current station. Courtesy of David Wermes

 
 
Updated 8/29/2016 4:43 PM

If you've got historical photographs of Wauconda's police officers, Chief David Wermes would like to get a look at them.

Wermes is putting together a photography exhibit of the department through the years. The photos will be framed and displayed in the hallways of the police station, for officers and visitors to see. Some may also be displayed in the station lobby.

 

Wermes aims to have the project completed in time for an open house in late September and ahead of the department's 140th anniversary next year. He has six photos now and is hoping to collect about six more.

"We would prefer photos that involve the police department, police officers, squad cars (or) maybe incidents that involved the officers investigating a crime," Wermes said.

He hopes the photos will help Wauconda's police officers and department employees understand the history of the community. That, he said, will help them be part of the community.

"We would like to show pride in how we represent all generations, past and present," Wermes said.

Wermes said he was moved to launch the project by the town itself, which has buildings that date to the 19th century. Photos of the 1979 "Blues Brothers" film production in Wauconda -- especially the black-and-white 1974 Dodge Monaco that was turned into the Bluesmobile and drove along Phil's Beach in one critical scene -- also provided inspiration.

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The planned exhibit isn't the only aesthetic change at the police station since Wermes' arrival in December 2015. Offices have been remodeled and new paint has been added to walls in efforts to improve the atmosphere and attitudes at the station.

Lobby upgrades are in the works, too.

Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner supports the efforts.

"Chief Wermes is trying to change the culture of the police department in Wauconda, and part of this effort is restoring or increasing the pride of the officers in the department," Maxeiner said. "The historical photos are a key piece of this strategy."

The police department formed in 1877, and Wermes would love photos from its earliest years. Any photos taken before 2015 will be considered, he said.

To contribute to the exhibit, you can bring photos to the administrative assistant Deb Gompertz at the police station, 311 S. Main St.

You can also email digital versions of photos to dgompertz@waucondapolice.com.

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