River Forest’s deputy police chief, Craig Rutz, retired from the department Jan. 16 after 31 years of service. He will be replaced by the department’s patrol commander, James O’Shea.
Rutz, 61, told village staff this past summer that he was planning to leave in the first quarter of 2013. He said at the time that he loved his job, but he wanted to spend more time with his family. He is planning to move to Tampa, Fla., where his daughter works as a public defender. Rutz also said he has been studying jazz guitar for years and wanted to concentrate more on that. He could not be reached for comment.
Rutz joined the police department in January 1982, moving up to lieutenant in 1997, then acting chief in 1998. In the late 1990s he also became the department’s first crime prevention officer and served as the local DARE officer. He was in the running for chief, but a more experienced candidate was eventually hired. Rutz and two other officers filed age discrimination lawsuits against the village in 2003 and 2004 when the new chief chose younger, less experienced officers as his deputy chiefs.
Rutz and a second officer reached a $500,000 settlement with the village in 2007. He became deputy chief in 2011.
Police Chief Greg Weiss said O’Shea has been transitioning into his new role since Rutz’s retirement took effect. O’Shea was third in command in the department, Weiss said, under Rutz and himself, so the logical step was to move him up.
Weiss said the department’s goal is to create a system where officers get trained, mentored and promoted from within whenever there is a vacancy, as long as they prove they are capable. Since O’Shea grew up in Oak Park, Weiss said, he “takes ownership of the village.”
Growing up in the area gives him a unique perspective, O’Shea said. As a result, he has that connection with residents and can help them out “on a little bit of a personal level.” He was a graduate of Fenwick High School and still lives close by.
O’Shea, 46, has been with the department for 18 years. After starting as a patrol officer, he spent more than six years in the detective unit and eventually became its supervisor. In 2002, he rotated back to patrol. O’Shea was promoted to patrol division commander in 2011. Before joining the department, he did administrative work for the Cook County circuit courts.
O’Shea said he looks forward to working with Weiss and the village in his new role.