A former Bartlett police officer will shed his interim role with the village of Island Lake Police Department on Monday and join the agency as its full-time police chief.
Village board members voted, 4-0, on Thursday in favor of keeping interim Chief Dan Palmer on board.
The decision means Palmer will have to end his contract with the Gold Shield Detective Agency, which sent him to oversee police operations in Island Lake last year. Among other responsibilities, Palmer was tasked with interviewing employees in connection with a mayor’s office investigation that has led to the firing of at least three officers, including former chief Anthony Sciarrone.
Former sergeants Charles Mader and Billy Dickerson also were fired. Dickerson has asked Mayor Charles Amrich to reconsider the termination.
Palmer, who worked for the Bartlett Police Department for 31 years, didn’t expect to stay in Island Lake longer than four to six months, he said. When he learned village officials were considering him for the full-time job, however, he agreed to stay if they’d have him.
“I was here to fix the problem,” he said. “They liked my work, and I actually care about what happens here. The energy levels and the excitement I’ve seen in the police officers’ lives – I didn’t want to walk away from it.”
Palmer added that the department might have been hard-pressed to find a replacement police chief in the village’s current political climate.
“I explained to them that they need to break the new mayor, new chief cycle,” Palmer said.
Since he was sworn in in late September, Palmer has hired and promoted several officers, as well as rearranged shift assignments to provide more supervision to officers with less experience, he said.
“Part of the big problem here is these guys have been working overtime galore for the last few years,” Palmer said. “They’re meeting themselves coming and going.”
Police and village officials have said little about the mayor’s investigation. The village denied the Northwest Herald’s Freedom of Information Act request for records that might have provided some insight into the situation. The Northwest Herald appealed the denial to the Illinois Attorney General’s public access counselor, who upheld the village’s decision earlier this week.