New Harper College police chief sworn in

  • John Lawson, a 37-year law enforcement veteran, is Harper College's new police chief.

    John Lawson, a 37-year law enforcement veteran, is Harper College's new police chief. Courtesy of Harper College

 
 
Posted1/21/2021 6:00 AM

A 37-year law enforcement veteran and Harper College graduate has returned to campus to serve as its new police chief.

John Lawson was sworn in Jan. 11 as head of the college's police department, a force of a dozen sworn officers that investigates crimes, responds to traffic accidents and patrols the Palatine campus.

 

The new top cop -- also the elected Schaumburg Township assessor since 2004 -- was named Illinois Police Officer of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission in 1997.

"On my watch, we are going to keep our high level of service and try to find ways to improve on it whenever we can," Lawson said in a news release, adding that his team will uphold the core values of the college and values of the police department.

"Let it be known: I am a strong proponent of integrity and accountability."

John Lawson, left, was sworn in Jan. 11 as Harper College chief of police during a small, socially distanced ceremony with family and close colleagues from throughout his career. Lawson's oldest son, Robert, pinned the police badge on his father.
John Lawson, left, was sworn in Jan. 11 as Harper College chief of police during a small, socially distanced ceremony with family and close colleagues from throughout his career. Lawson's oldest son, Robert, pinned the police badge on his father. - Courtesy of Harper College

Lawson has spent the last five years as a sergeant of police and accreditation manager at the College of Lake County. He's also been a part-time administration police officer in East Dundee and police officer and accreditation manager in Bannockburn.

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He spent nearly three decades on the Roselle police force, eventually becoming a sergeant and shift watch commander.

Lawson earned an associate degree from Harper and his bachelor's and master's degrees from Lewis University in Romeoville -- all in criminal and social justice. He is also a graduate of Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command.

Former Harper Chief Claude Casaletto stepped down in March after two years. Deputy Chief Kurt Metzger served as interim chief until Lawson's appointment.

Lawson will be paid $100,000 a year.

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