Elgin swears in new police chief, honors retiring interim chief
22-year veteran is the second woman to be named city's top cop
The Elgin community welcomed Ana Lalley as the new leader of the city's police department Tuesday in a ceremony also honoring retiring interim Chief Bill Wolf.
Lalley, a 22-year department veteran, has been serving as acting deputy chief since former Chief Jeff Swoboda stepped down last month to take a new job in Colorado. She previously served as commander since 2012, and she was recognized by her colleagues and city officials as a strong, progressive leader.
After being sworn in as chief -- and receiving a standing ovation from the hundreds of officers, residents and community leaders in the crowd -- Lalley promised to always be accessible, to promote community engagement and to lead the department with innovation, kindness and dedication.
"I understand that in this profession today, to be a true public servant, you must fight crime, build relationships, evolve, adapt, and when you see people in their worst moments, show compassion and respect," said Lalley, the second female chief in Elgin's history. "I'm a true optimist, always looking to make a difference for the better."
Much of what Lalley knows about being a leader comes from Wolf, whose knowledge and work ethic have been exemplary during his 26 years at the department, she said. Wolf has served as deputy chief since 2013 and is leaving for a job in Schaumburg.
"It was a very tough decision to leave," he said. "One of the things I think was the toughest was the fact that we have so many great people."
Being a police officer is a tough profession filled with difficult situations, Wolf said, pointing to the recent officer-involved shooting death of Decynthia Clements. He urged members of the public to educate themselves about the job before rushing to judgment and said Elgin has an "incredible culture" of self-policing and community engagement.
Wolf, who also received a standing ovation, was awarded a plaque commending him for his service.
Cmdr. Allen Young, who has been at the department since 1991, was promoted to the deputy chief position. He has worked alongside Lalley for the last two decades and is honored to be her second-in-command, he said.
The ceremony, held at The Centre of Elgin, also recognized two other retirees: administrative assistant Sharon Pepke and chaplain Carl Ball. Additionally, officer John Slocum and Detective Heather Robinson were promoted to sergeant; Sgts. Kevin Senne and Steve Bianchi were promoted to lieutenant; and Lts. Frank Trost and Jim Bisceglie were promoted to commander.
Elgin has a history of building leaders and promoting from within, as is the case with Lalley, City Manager Rick Kozal said. She has managed projects including the body camera program, the real-time information center, the drone program and several community engagement initiatives.
"Her distinguished tenure has demonstrated remarkable ability to provide vision and leadership to the police department," Kozal said. "I am entirely confident Ana Lalley will continue to push the police department to the further excellence that distinguishes Elgin from the rest."
Sworn: Lalley's past projects include body cameras, drones