JOHNSBURG – Sgt. Keith Von Allmen will be sworn in as Johnsburg police chief Tuesday, the day after Chief Kenneth Rydberg marks his 20th year with the department.
“We’ve been building on this for the past few years because we knew it was going to happen,” Rydberg said.
Von Allmen, 37, grew up in Fox Lake and worked as a police dispatcher there for about three years before joining the Johnsburg Police Department in 1995. He started as a patrolman, but also has been a school resource officer.
He and his wife, Maureen, have been married for 13 years. He has a 28-year-old stepdaughter, a 9-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.
Von Allmen has been a part of Johnsburg’s most well-known case, the investigation of 17-year-old Brian Carrick’s disappearance and presumed murder. Von Allmen recently testified at the perjury trial of Mario Casciaro, a manager at Val’s Foods where Carrick last was seen Dec. 20, 2002.
The perjury charges were thrown out, and Casciaro later was charged with first-degree murder and concealing a homicide. He remains in custody as the case goes through the court system.
It’s a case that Rydberg said he would continue to follow in his retirement.
“It’s a shame Terry wasn’t here to see it,” he said, referring to Carrick’s mother, who died in November of leukemia. “But she’s with him now.”
Another case that has stuck with him happened in September 1995, when six Johnsburg High School students went to the hospital after taking bad LSD. Rydberg easily recalled the name of the main supplier who was tried and convicted: Avery Rodriguez.
He remembers a crash about a year before that left three teenagers dead: two 15-year-old girls and a 17-year-old boy. The car they had been a passenger in hit a tree along Riverside Drive.
“The car was split in half,” Rydberg said.
Marcin Placek and Jason Ransom are other names he remembers. In 1998, Ransom murdered Placek, who was from Johnsburg, shooting him in the head over Placek’s 1984 Chevrolet Camaro.
Rydberg, who has been married for more than 38 years and has four adult sons, said he planned to spend the next four or five months doing some traveling and relaxing before evaluating what he wants to do next. He said he likely would try to find a part-time job, not necessarily in law enforcement.
“There’s stress in every job, and law enforcement is no different,” he said. “I don’t want to rush into anything quick.”
The department certainly changed quite a bit during his tenure – when he started, Johnsburg technically didn’t yet exist. His patch said Sunnyside.
Reports had to be handwritten, and the police department shared office space at Village Hall, where they had “one room with a closet and a garage,” Rydberg said.
“This 20 years has gone by fast,” he said.