The best candidate for the job of Grayslake Chief of Police got the job at the Feb. 7 village board meeting.
Matt McCutcheon, who had been acting as interim chief since Larry Herzog retired last summer, was officially named the department’s police chief at the recommendation of Mayor Rhett Taylor. The vote was unanimous.
“He was the best candidate, and we thank him for everything he’s done for us,” said Taylor of McCutcheon, who joined the Grayslake Police Department 20 years ago as a patrol officer.
“He worked his way up,” said Taylor. “As he grew his career, the village was growing at the same time.”
McCutcheon, who had served as police commander since 1998, was surrounded by his fellow officers, staff, friends and family during the appointment.
Taylor said the extensive process to find the next police chief was a serious undertaking. The position garnered 120 applications from candidates across the country. The field was narrowed to 12, who were interviewed by a committee composed of village administrators, a chamber representative and Hainesville Mayor Linda Soto.
McCutcheon, said Taylor, was “strongly recommended by all involved” not just because he has been with the department since May 1991, but due to his experience and dedication to the safety and security of the village.
His qualifications include extensive knowledge of police operations and management and department finances. McCutcheon has also been very involved in the community. He is a member of the Grayslake Exchange Club and even won first place in the 2010 “Rib Throwdown.”
Taylor also mentioned two police commendations McCutcheon had received in previous years, including locating and saving a teen from committing suicide and helping to rescue residents from a burning apartment.
McCutcheon was also instrumental in integrating the Village of Hainesville into the jurisdiction of the Grayslake Police Department for patrol and other services.
“This was not a default choice,” said trustee Bruce Bassett, as the board and audience chuckled at the loud, sudden sound of a police siren outside. “We are excited about this. I salute you commander for your interest in pursuing this.”
“It is a promotion that is well deserved,” said trustee Jeff Werfel.
McCutcheon will earn a yearly salary of $125,000, said Village Administrator Mike Ellis.
Before McCutcheon left for a celebration, he told Patch it was “an exciting night.”
“I am grateful and honored they had the confidence in me,” he said.
On the horizon for the McCutcheon-lead department, he said, is the naming of the new police commander among other new leadership opportunities for officers.
McCutcheon said the department is also working on new programs to heighten community safety and police efficiency.
“We are working on measuring officer activity for better efficiency.”
The program, known as “data driven policing,” will be a challenge, said McCutcheon, but the staff is up to it.
“Our mantra is, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.’”
McCutcheon said computer-aided dispatch will help the department measure the activities and locations of patrol officers and determine areas for improvement.
The Grayslake Police Department has 33 full-time and two part-time sworn employees and four civilian employees.