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Search Beginning for New Oswego Police Chief

May 01, 2014 02:43PM ● Published by Steven Jack

Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird will take the office of Kendall County Sheriff in January. Photo courtesy of dwight4sheriff.com

Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird won’t be sworn in as the new Kendall County Sheriff until January, but village officials already have begun preparations to replace the longtime chief.

Baird, who was named the 2014 Police Chief of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission, is the presumptive new Sheriff, as there is no challenger to his election in November. 

Village President Brian LeClercq has authority to appoint the police chief with the advice and consent of the Village Board, but an outside panel also will aid in the search.

LeClercq said this week he plans to promote from within.

“The appointment will be from inside the police department,” LeClercq said. “That’s the authority that’s been given to me as village president and I plan to exercise that authority.”

LeClercq said he expects a few qualified candidates from within the department to apply for this position, and he’s confident there’s no need to look for outside candidates.

“I do agree that sometimes it’s a good idea to go outside to look, and that’ usually when there are some problems within that department,” he said. “But from what I've seen from within our department and the leadership within that department … we have some exceptional people and I have the utmost confidence that we will find someone fully qualified from within that department.”

Village Administrator Steve Jones said a panel of three chiefs from the firm DMACT Services will help in the interview process by putting candidates through role-playing exercises used to evaluate how candidates react in certain scenarios. 

A selection committee made up of village officials will also be involved in the process of putting forth a final candidate for recommendation to the Village Board.

Jones said staff currently are in the process of updating the chief job description and it will be posted internally later this month. By late July, a final candidate should be selected and brought forward for approval. 

Jones said he expects three or four possible candidates to apply from within the department.

“Dwight has mentored his staff well,” he said. “It’s likely that there will be several qualified candidates.”

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