Chief who brought stability to embattled Schaumburg police force retires
Schaumburg Police Chief James Lamkin retired Friday, more than five years after his hiring brought stability and new direction to a department ending a tumultuous period that began with the arrest of three undercover officers on drug conspiracy charges.
Mayor Tom Dailly praised Lamkin for the important role he played in the police department's history.
"Each chief has had a certain role," Dailly said. "As times change, the department changes a little bit. Chief Lamkin was a very perfect choice at the time. He healed wounds in the department and established some new directions. I'm very pleased with him having been there."
Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend, who first worked with Lamkin in St. Charles, echoed that sentiment in a written statement.
"Chief Lamkin accepted a tough challenge and, with his vast knowledge and expertise, was able to set the police department on a path to continued future success," Townsend said. "I am grateful for his years of commitment and dedication to serving the public and I wish him well in his retirement."
Lamkin likely will be succeeded by Deputy Chief Bill Wolf after an appointment vote at the May 14 village board meeting. Wolf was recruited in June 2018 from his position as Elgin's interim police chief in anticipation of Lamkin's retirement.
"Chief Wolf should be a great successor to him," Dailly said.
Lamkin had been police chief of St. Charles for a decade before he moved to Schaumburg. He previously spent 23 years in Elgin, rising to the rank of deputy chief.
He was the first permanent chief hired after the retirement of Brian Howerton, who stepped down in April 2013, four months after the arrest of officers John Cichy, Terrance O'Brien and Matthew Hudak, all of whom subsequently resigned.
After the disbanding of the department's Special Investigations Bureau, which the three officers belonged to, Lamkin initiated a more regional approach by starting a Northwest Cook County arm of the long-standing North Central Narcotics Taskforce. Schaumburg, Arlington Heights and Hanover Park were the founding members.
He also launched a new Special Operations Tactical Unit to proactively address street crime, with its management and mission also handled differently from those of the former Special Investigations Bureau.
Other initiatives during Lamkin's tenure included the start of a village adjudication system, local fingerprinting for carnival game and ride operators, tougher regulations for massage businesses, local fines for prostitution, and a no-tolerance policy for solicitors and panhandlers at certain dangerous intersections.
Also, during his time, powdered alcohol and "alcohol without liquid" or AWOL devices for ingesting alcohol vapor were banned; officers were given the ability to issue fines for first-time negligent driving, especially when involving use of handheld cellphones; and the department reviewed security protocols before village approval of a request to allow Field & Stream to sell handguns inside the Dick's Sporting Goods store at Streets of Woodfield.