ISLAND LAKE – A former Island Lake police officer who managed the campaign for the new village president was rehired Thursday night.
Wayne Schnell resigned from the department in 2010 after a departmental investigation into his behavior, but the accusations made against him were false, Village President Charles Amrich said.
The Village Board voted, 4-2, to hire Schnell part time but decided to postpone a vote on another former police officer, Billy Dickerson.
The vote was put off because the board wants to make sure everything has been looked at, Amrich said, adding the meeting still ran to 12:30 a.m.
Schnell managed the political campaign of the For the People slate, which was made up of Amrich, Trustees Keith Johns, Mark Beeson and Tony Sciarrone, and Clerk Teresa Ponio. All the candidates won in April.
Dickerson also campaigned for the slate.
When asked whether he was concerned the hiring would look political, Amrich replied, “I’m sure it looks that way, but it’s not.”
It is personal, though, he said, pointing to his own experience when he was charged with five counts of felony official misconduct. The case went to trial, and a jury found him not guilty.
“Once you’ve been something like that ... I don’t want to see anyone go through something like that, especially when it’s your livelihood,” he said.
Schnell was cleared by an internal investigation, said police Chief Don Bero, who was also brought on by the new board.
Bero had approached the Illinois State Police about conducting an investigation but was advised to conduct an internal investigation since Schnell wasn’t accused of anything criminal, he said.
He chose Sgt. Nick Deuter to conduct the investigation. Deuter had worked with Schnell in the past, but they didn’t know each other very well, Bero said.