Joliet police veteran Al Roechner rose from interim to permanent police chief Tuesday.
Roechner was sworn into office at a City Council meeting attended by dozens of family, friends and fellow police officers who filled the council chambers.
A lifelong Joliet resident, Roechner has been in the Joliet Police Department since starting as a patrol officer in 1991 and has been interim chief since Aug. 24 after the retirement of Brian Benton. He previously had served as deputy chief of investigations for four years and has held commander positions for the past 10 years.
Roechner thanked his family for their support and expressed appreciation to city officials “for this opportunity. I’m not going to let you down.”
The new chief noted “the hits” that police departments have taken in recent years. He said he would support police while also working “closely with our community leaders and helping them to meet their needs.”
“It is my job to make sure [police] have the tools, training and support they need to do the job effectively,” Roechner said. “I’ll expect them to continue to be active in the community and always to remind our citizens that we’re here to help them.”
Interim City Manager Marty Shanahan reportedly told the council in a closed session after the Monday meeting that he intended to hire Roechner.
Shanahan said he did not interview other candidates for the job.
In a news release announcing the appointment, Shanahan said that Roechner “has built camaraderie, respect and enthusiasm” in his months as interim chief.
“I have the utmost confidence in Mr. Roechner,” Shanahan said.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and council members said they were pleased with Roechner’s selection.
“I’m very excited for Al,” said O’Dekirk, a former Joliet police officer who also worked with Roechner in the department’s tactical unit.
Among Roechner’s assets is his personality, O’Dekirk said.
Roechner’s personality has been on display in the past week, as he’s appeared dressed as an elf on the Joliet Police Department Facebook page as an “Elf on the Shelf” to kick off a public safety campaign that will be taken to the community in the coming weeks.
Roechner is a 2003 graduate of Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command and a 2011 graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois Benedictine University.