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Village of Lemont fills vacancies with old, new faces

Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 9:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, July 6, 2013 1:17 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Lemont Probationary Police Officer David Dansart (center) graduated from the Illinois State Police Academy June 27. Pictured with him are (from left) Lemont Police Chief Kevin Shaughnessy, Lemont Police Commission Chairman Vic Splitt, Lemont Police Commander Greg Smith and Lemont Police Commander Dan Tully.

LEMONT – When discussing his new position as village administrator for Lemont, George Schafer said one of his immediate challenges would be overseeing many staffing changes in the village.

In June, the village of Lemont named a new village administrator and building commissioner and hired a new village planner.

The Lemont Police Department saw three officers retire that month, in addition to one who had retired a couple of months earlier. They hired three new officers from the Illinois State Police Academy and hired one more from another town.

The village administrator and building commissioner were promoted from within the village, which Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves said is beneficial in multiple ways.

“Everybody has a strong understanding of what needs to take place in the village,” he said.

Hiring from within also saves the village money on the search process.

“When people leave, lots of times in management roles, villages will do searches with employment agencies,” Reaves said.

Reaves, who also works as president of Integrated Warehouse Systems, said he will spend more time in the administrative office during the next 90 days to help with the transition.

“The nice part is it’s summer,” he said. “There is a bit of a slowdown.”

For the police department, hiring four officers is unprecedented in Chief Kevin Shaughnessy’s 10 years with the department.

“It’s highly unusual for a small department to hire so many at one time,” he said.

The department is made up of 28 full-time officers, including the chief, two commanders, four sergeants, three detectives and 18 patrol officers.

The new officers are on an 18-month probation period that includes 10 weeks of field training with daily evaluations, followed by monthly evaluations.

Although the department will face challenges training four officers at the same time, Shaughnessy also has seen a new energy in the department as LPD moves past recent staff reductions and budget cuts.

“Now we’re starting to bring more people on board,” he said. “It’s a good feeling.”

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