HUNTLEY – Former Police Chief Richard Rossi was remembered as a community leader who helped professionalize a small-town police department years before Huntley’s population boom.
Rossi, 58, died Thursday, surrounded by his family at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elgin, after battling lymphoma for the past two and a half months. Rossi served as Huntley’s police chief from the early 1980s until the mid-1990s.
He spent more than 25 years in law enforcement. Before his death, he was working at Huntley District 158 as the school system’s transportation director.
Village President Chuck Sass credited Rossi for creating the initial structure for a department that would be challenged years later to police a changing population. Huntley went from 5,000 residents in the 1990s to more than 20,000 by the mid-2000s.
“He was in a long line of good chiefs we were fortunate to have in the village. He was instrumental in getting our department started,” Sass said. “It was an Andy and Mayberry type town. He laid the foundation for a great police department.”
Sass knew Rossi before he even became involved with village government in the late 1990s. Sass said he would join Rossi and then-Village President Don Enstrom in the 1980s for weekly breakfasts on Sundays to talk village news and hang out.
Rossi grew up in Cary before settling in Huntley.
He is survived by his wife, Brenda; his daughter, Deanna of Sycamore; his mother, Mary; his sisters, Maria Williams, Michelle Mazzulo and Melissa Martin; and his in-laws.
The visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 11008 N. Church St., Huntley. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday.
– Stephen Di Benedetto