By Devin Rose
Craig Rutz, River Forest's deputy police chief who has been with the department for 30 years, will likely retire within the next year, he said last week.
Village Administrator Eric Palm announced Rutz's retirement at the July 9 village board meeting, saying he would leave in the first quarter of 2013.
When reached the next day, Rutz, 61, said it's not for lack of energy.
"I love my job — I would stay here forever if I could," he said.
Instead, he wants to spend more time with his family. Rutz said his daughter is a public defender working in Tampa, Fla., and he had a condo there that he has visited every six weeks or so for the last 12 years. He'll likely buy a new place there and move to be closer to his daughter.
Rutz is also a musician — he's been studying jazz guitar in downtown Chicago for years — and hopes to concentrate more on that.
He emphasized he has not yet officially announced his retirement, and that the department was doing nothing to push him out.
Rutz started at the police department in January 1982. He was one of the first officers Police Chief Greg Weiss encountered when Weiss joined the department five years later. At that time, Rutz was a field officer.
Now when Weiss makes decisions, he says it's helpful to him that Rutz often looks at matters from a different perspective.
"He complements my personality," Weiss said.
Rutz was promoted to lieutenant in 1997, with both administrative and operational duties in that role. He served as acting chief in 1998 and became the department's first crime prevention officer, serving as the local D.A.R.E. officer.
Rutz was in the running for police chief in the late 1990s, but a more experienced candidate, Michael Holub, was eventually hired. Then in 2003 and 2004, Rutz and two other officers filed age discrimination lawsuits against the village when Holub chose younger, less-experienced officers as his deputy chiefs. Rutz and the second officer reached a $500,000 settlement with the village in 2007.
Last July, then-lieutenant Rutz officially stepped up to become deputy chief.
The rules of the village's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners say Rutz's successor must be appointed from within, Weiss said.