By Shane Nicholson
ROCKFORD – Elgin Police Commander Dan O’Shea has been unanimously selected by the Rockford Board of Fire and Police Commissioners to become the city’s next police chief.
O’Shea, 48, has been with the Elgin department since 1999. He reportedly became the board’s top choice after impressing during Wednesday’s six-hour assessment.
“I’m looking forward to making some changes, and have an open communication with the police, the union and the public,” O’Shea told the Daily Herald Thursday.
The 27-year law enforcement veteran was selected ahead of Rockford Assistant Deputy Chief Doug Pann. Art Howell, police chief of the Racine, Wisc. department, pulled his name out of consideration prior to Wednesday’s vote.
O’Shea is credited with leading the way for body camera testing in departments across the state, which Elgin began trialling in 2014. RPD commenced a similar pilot program with the recording systems just this month.
Mayor Larry Morrissey praised the selection Thursday, saying that O’Shea’s background compliments the needs of Rockford.
“I’m happy with the pick and look forward to working with incoming cheif O’Shea,” said Morrissey.
“I think he comes from a tradition that in many respects is similar to Rockford.”
Morrisey says that although Elgin is a smaller community than Rockford it still presents many of the same difficulties in dealing with violent crime and a diverse population.
“He’s got the kind of background that’s sympathetic to the challenges he will face and the expectations we as a city have,” the mayor said, adding, “I think he’s ready to take on the challenges we have here in order to fight violence and to continue implementing and building upon a lot of the strategies we’ve already undertaken.”
Morrissey also praised the current leadership of RPD, saying, “I felt that any number of people in the department now could’ve stepped up into the role of chief, including Doug Pann. Ultimately, the board decided to go this route.”
City officials now move on to decide O’Shea’s pay packet and onboarding schedule. He is expected to join the department in mid-April.