MP has history of top-cop turnover

By on October 16, 2009

by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park officials plan to hire a new police chief by early December, after not having one for a year and a half.

The village Personnel Committee will spend the coming weeks reviewing the more than 10 applications it received for the position, and will recommend several to the Village Board to interview.

This is not the first time the village Police Department has been without a chief. Following is the history of police chiefs in Maple Park since 2003.

• February 2003: Police Chief Claude Oesterreicher resigned, and village officials appointed Officer Leonard Stover as acting police chief.

• March 2003: The village hired Chester Morris as police chief. Afterward, Stover, who had vied for the position, resigned from the Police Department.

• June 2004: Morris was indicted on illegal gambling charges related to an Illinois State Police raid in May at D.J.’s Tavern in Maple Park.

• March 2005: Morris was acquitted of the illegal gambling charge.

• November 2005: The village fired Morris. Village officials said the dismissal was related to Morris’ performance as police chief.

• June 2006: The village hired Steven Yahnke as village police chief.

• June 2008: Village officials decided against renewing Yahnke’s contract and named Chuck Slater as officer in charge. They said the reason for their decision was that Yahnke’s other employer, Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez, would not allow Yahnke to work for the sheriff while also working for the Maple Park Police Department.

• Sept. 2009: Slater resigned. Village officials declined to confirm Slater’s claim that the Village Board asked him to resign. Trustee Debra Armstrong, chairman of the village Personnel Committee, became supervisor of the Police Department.

Current Village President Kathy Curtis said when she took office in May that putting a police chief in place was her top priority, in order to bring stability to a police department that needs leadership. As a village trustee, Curtis had voted against firing former Maple Park Police Chief Chester Morris.