Elburn officials name new police chief

By on May 8, 2009

Former Cmdr. Steve Smith replaces Jim Linane
by Martha Quetsch
Right after being sworn into office Monday, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson appointed a new police chief, Steve Smith, with the consent of the village trustees in a 4-2 vote.

Smith replaces Jim Linane, who was police chief since 2001. Smith’s appointment is for the village’s fiscal year, May 1, 2009, through April 30, 2010.

After his appointment during the Village Board meeting, Smith said he did not know he would be hired that evening, but that Anderson recently approached him about the position.

“He asked if I would consider the job and I said I would,” Smith said. “You’re always sorry to see people go, but it is the Village President’s and Village Board’s choice.”

Smith, of Geneva, said he is looking at his hiring as an opportunity.

“I think I have a lot to offer,” Smith said.

Smith has been the Elburn Police Department commander since 2005. He worked for the St. Charles Police Department for 23 years and previously was with the Geneva Police Department.

Smith said he does not plan any “knee-jerk changes” in the Elburn Police Department, but said he will evaulate its operations.

“I want to make sure we’re doing everything correctly and to the benefit of the village,” Smith said.

He said among his first tasks will be to work with other village officials on the budgeting process starting soon.

Anderson said the reason he did not re-appoint Linane was because of differences in their general philosophy.

“I’m trying to get the right fit for everybody and implement what I heard in the community,” Anderson said. “I guess I’m just looking for a friendlier attitude.”

Linane, who did not return phone calls from the Elburn Herald, said in February that before he became police chief, the department had some inexperienced, overly aggressive officers who generated a lot of complaints from residents. To restore residents’ faith in the Police Department, Linane hired a group of officers including Smith, with an average of 21 years experience.

As a result, the Police Department in recent years has received very few citizen complaints regarding village law enforcement, Linane said.

Linane was chief of the Carol Stream Police Department, where he worked for 29 years. He is a past president of the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association and a resident of Blackberry Creek in Elburn.

St. Charles Police Chief James Lamkin, the association’s current president, said Linane served the organization well when he led it in 2006 and served as its liaison to a county’s New Jail Committee.

“He took his responsibilities very seriously,” Lamkin said.