Lake Zurich police chief earns statewide certification
Lake Zurich Police Chief Patrick Finlon was recently designated a Certified Police Chief by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. | Photo courtesy Lake Zurich Police Department
Family: A wife of 29 years and two kids.
Upbringing: I grew up in Elk Grove Village, went to Elk Grove High School.
Hobby: Devotes time to coaching and being the director of youth baseball in Cary.
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:20AM
LAKE ZURICH — Just before Feb. 15 marked his 29th year with the Lake Zurich Police Department, Chief Patrick Finlon was designated a Certified Police Chief by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
“I appreciate the opportunities the village has presented to me, in terms of my professional development,” Finlon said at the village’s Feb. 4 Board meeting.
The state association’s requirements entail a year-long application process, in which applicants must demonstrate extensive law enforcement experience and a solid educational background. Then, they must take a test to show their knowledge of managerial concepts, modern policing concepts, law and leading cases, and budgeting principles. The final part of the process has them interviewing with a panel of active police chiefs and a professor in a university law enforcement program.
According to the association, Finlon is among a select few police chiefs that have been able to meet the program’s stringent requirements since its inception in 1998.
Q: How does it feel to have been certified by the ILACP?
A: I think it validates an individual and shows the community that you meet a certain standard: the department is accredited and we have to submit ourselves to peer review for other professionals to come in, take a look at the department and how it’s run, and we have to meet certain standards. I think this is another standard to let the community know that they have professional people that are fulfilling these jobs.
Q: How did you come into your current position in Lake Zurich?
A: I had an interest in law enforcement when I was in the military. I was a telecommunications specialist in the army from 1978 to 1981. So I took some courses at Central Texas College, and then I went overseas with Central Texas College to take some criminal justice courses in the army. I just took tests until I got hired some place when I was out of school, and in the meantime I got hired by Hoffman Estates as a fire and police dispatcher. I worked there from 1982 to ‘84, and in ‘84 in Lake Zurich as a patrol officer.
Q: What initially inspired you to pursue criminal justice?
A: At that time, you wanted to do something that you were interested in that made a difference. ... I would contend that the era of police officers that I know thought of being a police officer as more of a calling, and not so much as a job. When I started, I was making $18,800 a year — and that was ’84, but still, that’s not a lot of money. It was more the ascribed status that was attached to being a police officer. In the meantime, I had been going to Harper College to get my associate’s degree, so I was going to class with a lot of guys that were either police officers or testing to be police officers. So it was a combination of me being at Hoffman Estates as a police dispatcher and being with the guys in law enforcement at Harper College.
Q: What do you like about working for the Lake Zurich Police Department?
A: It’s a good town. I work with some very good people and there’s a degree of security in that. I came out here at a good time, too. In 1984, Lake Zurich was a pretty small town — I think our population was somewhere around 8,900 — so it was right at that time that development really started occurring, and as that happened, the department grew. The opportunities that presented themselves pretty much satisfied my professional interested and I had an opportunity for advancement.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in town?
A: All of them are good! I’m more of a steak and potatoes type of guy, though, and Beelow’s fulfills that best.
Q: Favorite sports teams?
A: I’m a big Blackhawks and Cubs fan, which is a source of division within the department sometimes— not the Blackhawks part, but the Cubs and White Sox thing.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “In the Heat of the Night” with Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. It’s a classic.
Q: Do you have a favorite TV show?
A: Right now it’s probably “The Big Bang Theory.”