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An excellent choice for Oswego chief : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
An excellent choice for Oswego chief

As we report this week, the Oswego Village Board has approved Village President Brian LeClercq's appointment of Village Police Capt. Jeff Burgner as village police chief effective in November.

Burgner will succeed Dwight Baird who has served as chief since 2003. Baird won the Republican Party's nomination for Kendall County Sheriff in the party primary election in March and is an un-opposed candidate for the position in the Nov. 4 general election. He expects to be sworn-in to a four-year term as county sheriff in December.

Over the past few weeks, a village board committee, assisted by some outside law enforcement professionals, conducted interviews with applicants for the chief's position. All of the applicants interviewed were current police department officers.

In seeking a successor to Baird, LeClercq told board he saw no reason to look outside the department and we agree. LeClercq noted that under Baird's leadership the department was the first in Kendall County and in the Fox Valley area to twice earn national accreditation status through CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies. In addition to the accreditation, in 2012 CALEA presented the department with its excellence award. The award is given to law enforcement agencies that serve as a "model for the delivery of enhanced public safety services and management professionalism."

Referring to the CALEA honors, LeClercq told us, "When you are given credentials in the top one percent in the nation by a nationally accredited firm that's an indication you have a real good police department."

Over the past three decades we've watched and reported on the Oswego Police Department as it has grown and professionalized as the village itself grew from a small town of fewer than 3,000 to now more than 33,000. It may be hard for some to fathom, but back in the mid-1980s the department had fewer than 10 sworn officers and shared office space at old village hall on Main Street with other municipal departments.

We believe Burgner is an excellent choice to replace Baird as both the department and the village continues to grow. As an officer and more recently as a captain he has had an active role in leading the department and its 49 sworn officers and support staff. Burgner, who has exceptional people skills, also knows the village and understands the expectations the community has for the department. He has earned and deserves the opportunity to lead the department and we wish him well.

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