Cmdr. John Konopek, a 16-year veteran of the , was sworn in Monday night as the village's new interim police chief.
Konopek, 45, succeeds , who is retiring for health reasons at the end of the month. The approved the appointment, which has Konopek filling the job for about a year and a half, concurrent with Mayor Michael Collins' term.
Under village law, the police chief is a mayoral appointment approved by the village board. The appointment lasts as long as the mayor's term, and the chief's contract is either renewed or a new chief selected following the re-election of a sitting mayor or the election of a new mayor.
Konopek said he doesn't plan any changes right away, other than to adjust staffing to fill the void left by his promotion.
"It's an excellent department with a lot of great people and hard workers," he said. "The biggest problem (in Plainfield) is traffic, and it will remain a priority."
Konopek, a Joliet native, joined the department as a patrol officer in 1995. He was promoted to sergeant in 1999 and commander in 2000. Until Monday night, he oversaw the department's community services division and headed the Plainfield Emergency Management Agency.
Prior to coming to Plainfield, Konopek was a corrections officer for the Illinois Department of Corrections, working at the River Valley Juvenile Detention Center in Joliet. He is married and has two children.
Konopek's appointment seems to have the support of the department's rank-and-file, based on the standing ovation he received from the 20 or so police officers and supporters who attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Board members were equally effusive in their praise.
"You work very well with everyone in the village," Trustee Larry Kachel said. "Everything you've done so far has been fantastic. Keep up the good work."
Konopek was heavily involved in the village's response to the , during which people had to be rescued from stranded vehicles and temporarily housed at the police station until the storm ended.
"We're very happy with the way John has stood up and stepped into the role," Trustee Margie Bonuchi said.
Trustee Bill Lamb urged Konopek to continue Doster's practice of providing weekly and monthly reports about the department, including briefings on arrests and crime statistics. The desire to have better communication between the village and the police department was one of the board's chief criteria when they hired Doster in 2009.
"I find that very valuable," Lamb said. "That kind of openness helps cement our relationship with the department and with the public."