Mundelein's top cop named 2018 Chief of the Year
Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther, well known in Lake County for his work with opioid prevention and other community issues, has been named the top cop by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
The 1,300-member organization on Wednesday cited Guenther's leadership in the community and his department and the law enforcement profession in announcing its 2018 Chief of the Year. The organization represents more than 450 agencies in Illinois.
"It is incredible how highly regarded Chief Guenther is among his peers in Lake County, and for good reason," said Ed Wojcicki, the association's executive director.
Guenther's roles in creating the Lake County Opioid Initiative and the program called "A Way Out" were among the accomplishments noted by the association.
"I'm very honored and actually quite surprised," he said. "Without a doubt, what gets attributed to me isn't possible without everybody else."
Guenther made a presentation of "A Way Out" at a drug abuse diversion program in 2017 at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia.
"I'm not surprised at all," said Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, who often is a traveling partner with Guenther in their work with the Lake County Opioid Initiative.
"I could go on and one about him. He's been at the head of a lot of efforts the opioid initiative has taken."
According to the nomination, Guenther's implementation of a Latino Police Academy has become "a huge success" by opening lines of communication and building trust between Latino residents and police. Other community policing initiatives also were noted.
Guenther joined the department in 1995, rose through the ranks and was named chief in 2013.
He will receive the award April 27 during the association's annual awards banquet in Peoria.