HINCKLEY – Hinckley’s new police chief said he’s interested in looking forward and working closely with the community.
Gregg Waitkus, who started Aug. 1, replaces former Chief Ed Arroyo, who was not certified to be a full-time police officer. Waitkus interviewed with the personnel committee of the village’s board of trustees and his appointment was approved at the July 2 meeting. He was sworn in July 26.
Village President Dan Godhardt and village Trustee Nancy Nelson did not return messages left seeking comment.
Waitkus fills the vacancy left by Arroyo, who submitted his resignation in April effective July 5.
Arroyo’s decision came “as a result of medical issues that prevented him from completing necessary certifications to continue on as chief,” according to a village news release.
Arroyo was hired by Godhardt and sworn in Jan. 5. Arroyo was not certified to be a full-time police officer in Illinois – a requirement to serve as Hinckley’s chief.
Village residents raised questions about the process by which Arroyo and assistant Chief Vince Logan, who resigned in March, were hired. Godhardt stressed that it was within his rights as village president to handle the hiring process himself and appoint the two men to those positions.
According to requirements of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, Arroyo was to complete a physical test and a 10-week academy program by July 5.
Arroyo had said his resignation related to his expectation that he wouldn’t pass the physical test because he could not complete the running portion in the required amount of time.
Of the situation involving his predecessor, Waitkus said, “I don’t want to look backwards. I just want to look forward.”
Waitkus spent 27 years with the Naperville Police Department, serving most recently as investigations division commander. He retired from the department July 6.
During his time in Naperville, Waitkus also worked as a patrol sergeant, field training officer and supervisor, DARE officer, patrol watch commander and traffic section commander.
Before he worked in Naperville, Waitkus worked for the police department in Oglesby, where he grew up. He received a degree in criminal justice from Western Illinois University.
Waitkus said he had decided to retire from Naperville before hearing of the Hinckley job opening. He called it a very short retirement, as the prospect of the job in a smaller town interested him.
“I wanted a town where I could be part of the community,” said Waitkus, who is married and has two adult children.
Waitkus said he had yet to evaluate what issues the village faces, but hopes to have the police department do more within the community, such as assisting the elderly population and work closely with the schools and the sheriff’s office.
A vacant full-time officer position will likely focus on education within the community, he said.
While Arroyo was chief, DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott and Waterman police Chief Chuck Breese pulled part-time help their departments had given to Hinckley police.
Scott, who said he is impressed with Waitkus’ credentials, said there had not been a request made for the sheriff’s deputies to resume assistance to Hinckley, but if one is made, Scott will evaluate it.
Breese said he already has offered his department’s assistance to Waitkus.
“I hope he can bring the department back to respectability,” Breese said.