It was standing room only Tuesday night in the Homewood Village Hall board room as community members witnessed the passing of the leadership torch for the village police department.
The Board of Trustees approved a resolution honoring the accomplishments of retiring Police Chief Larry Burnson, especially his role in creating the E-Com Dispatch Center that services Homewood and surrounding communities, his focus on protecting the quality of life in the community, a reduction in the rate of serious crime and his mentorship of department staff.
After reading the resolution, Village Manager Jim Marino added a few comments about how important Burnson has been to the village.
“We talked about what Larry’s done, and you can see that on the street, but a lot of work went into that behind the scenes that people don’t see,” he said.
He noted that he tapped Burnson to be on the project team to help develop a science center because of his track record as a leader.
“The first person I thought of was Larry. He said, ‘Why me? I don’t know anything about science,'” Marino said. “I selected him because he knows how to create a good organization. I wanted his knowledge, his insight and his experience when we talked about creating the science center and a board of directors.”
Burnson thanked Marino and the trustees and administrators he worked with in his 14 years with the village.
“The people of the community have just been superb. They’ve always been supportive of the police department,” he said. “I’d like to thank all the men and women of the Homewood Police Department. Part 1 crimes have gone down eight years in a row because of the men and women who work the streets every day. Keep up the good work and please be safe.”
Burnson’s official retirement date is March 11, but he took vacation and effectively turned over the reins to Bill Alcott, who served as interim chief for the past two months.
Village officials then welcomed Alcott as the new chief of police, and Village Clerk Marilyn Thomas issued the oath of office.
Marino said Alcott has been with the village for 18 years and was prepared by Burnson to step into his new role, which will help make the transition in leadership go smoothly.
“He’s the type of guy who will jump the fences when he needs to get the person,” Marino said. “He’s committed to the community. He understands what Larry taught everybody about quality of life, and Bill’s going to continue that.”
Alcott thanked police chiefs who mentored him and colleagues, friends and family for their support.
“Throughout our years together I learned that we need each other in an effort to solve the problems that face our communities,” he said.
In other business, Marino announced that Edith Dobrez of Flossmoor has been hired as the executive director of the Homewood Science Center organization, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation being formed to fund and operate the nascent science center. Tuesday was her first day on the job, he said.
The board also:
- approved a contract not to exceed $33,685 with low bidder Davis Concrete for sidewalk and curb replacement;
- approved a contract not to exceed $63,440 with low responsible bidder National Roofing Corporation for replacement of the roof at Water Plant No. 2 and roof canopies at the Fire Department;
- approved the purchase of a 2016 skid loader from Martin Implement Sales for $39,443;
- renewed the contract with Illinois Central Sweeping for five residential and 15 commercial sweeps between May 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017, at a cost of $7,455 per residential sweep and $772 per commercial sweep.
Retiring Homewood police chief to be replaced by deputy chief (H-F Chronicle, Nov. 21, 2015)