Former Lake County sheriff's department leader dies at 62

  • Wayne Hunter, pictured here in his role as the Lake County Director of Homeland Security in 2008, died Jan. 2.

    Wayne Hunter, pictured here in his role as the Lake County Director of Homeland Security in 2008, died Jan. 2. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 1/8/2021 1:39 PM
Editor's note: This story was corrected to say Hunter died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Wayne Hunter, a police officer and psychologist who worked for the Waukegan Police Department and the Lake County sheriff's office, was remembered by colleagues as an experienced, passionate leader who loved serving the public.

Hunter, 62, died Jan. 2 at his Scottsdale, Arizona, home, according to funeral home information.


"He was a very forward-thinking, quality leader," said Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Scott Morrison, who served under Hunter. "He was just an incredible human being who just happened to be a cop who loved his department and serving the public."

Wayne spent 22 years in the Waukegan Police Department, rising from a patrol officer to serve as a task force officer assigned to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration training team.

While the bulk of the first stage of his career was spent in undercover drug-crime investigations, Hunter went on to serve a residency as a clinical psychologist. He also was an instructor College of Lake County, where he taught psychology, criminal investigations and psychology of the criminal mind, according to the funeral home.

He returned to law enforcement in the Lake County sheriff's office, where he had several high-ranking titles including as deputy chief and chief of administration. Morrison said Hunter had an open-door policy to anyone at the department.

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"Everyone knew they could go to him for advice and help," Morrison said, adding that Hunter cared about the human side of being a police officer.

According to funeral home information, while in the Lake County sheriff's office Hunter started a special investigations unit to address the growing heroin problem.

Hunter also restructured the court security division to save $800,000 in the budget and wrote a Public Safety Interoperable Communications grant application, which resulted in a $1 million award to Lake County.

In his role as the director of Homeland Security for the sheriff's office, he helped the county prepare for acts of terrorism and respond to natural disasters.

Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said Hunter was revered not just by members of the sheriff's office, but by law enforcement professionals across the region.

"He cared about those under his command and he cared about the community he served," Idleburg said.

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