New Lake Forest chief sets goals
Acting Lake Forest Police Chief James Held recently was named the chief. | Jeff Krage~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 28, 2012 8:39AM
LAKE FOREST — His promotion from acting police chief to the city of Lake Forest’s top cop is not one Chief James Held takes lightly.
Making better connections with residents and getting the department ready for the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in September 2013 are two items high on his list of things to do.
While a coup for the city to host the prestigious golf tournament, the weeklong event will tax the department’s resources with daily traffic control, police protection and emergency evacuation plans, he said.
Held and new Deputy Chief Karl Walldorf visited the 2012 BMW Championship in Carmel, Ind., earlier this month to get a handle on what they’ll face next year.
“They needed 100 police officers a day,” Held said. “We’ll be going for outside help.”
The Lake Forest Police Department is currently understaffed with 37 of 40 slots filled. Next week, Deputy Chief Glenn Burmeister will retire, bringing the total force membership to 36.
Held said he expects to tap off-duty Lake County Sheriff’s Department officers and other neighboring police departments for help.
“Logistically, we’re looking at between 35,000 and 40,000 spectators a day, the news media and about 2,600 volunteers,” he said. “The amount of people converging on that small venue brings a lot of things we have to consider.”
Hiring on new officers to bring the department to full force by then is uncertain.
“We’re looking at almost a year from testing to when a new officer is up and ready to go,” he said.
To make immediate connections with residents, Held plans to assign one officer to each of the city’s four wards in a liaison program city leaders support.
“One of the City Council’s priorities is to further engage the Lake Forest Police Department in the community and its events, its organizations and their activities,” City Manager Bob Kiely said. “Our desire is to re-establish the small-town atmosphere and warmth which is traditional in Lake Forest.”
Restarting the Citizens Police Academy and women’s self-defense classes are other initiatives the nearly 28-year veteran of the Lake Forest police department is considering.
“I don’t think we should be limited by what we’ve done in the past,” he said.