CRYSTAL LAKE – After today, the city’s top cop is trading in his gun and badge for granddaddy duty – and he couldn’t be happier.
Longtime Police Chief Dave Linder is retiring after 32 years with the department. His last day was Friday.
Linder, 56, has led the Crystal Lake Police Department since 2005, but he started with the department in 1980 as a patrolman.
For an individual who climbed his way up the ranks of police work, Linder didn’t always envision a career in law enforcement. In fact, he fell into it quite unceremoniously.
He was working as a paramedic in St. Charles, and with his wife, Cindy, pregnant with their first child, Linder was looking for something more financially stable.
He tested for the department, and soon enough, they called him to offer the job.
“Never once in my life did I think about being a police officer,” Linder said, laughing. “I had no [plans] of ever doing it as a career. But once I started doing it, I was locked in.”
From his early days patrolling the streets of Crystal Lake, Linder has since held many positions in the department, including detective, head of the investigations department and deputy chief, before being promoted police chief. Linder also served as the commander of the Major Crimes Task Force for the county and has earned too many commendations to count.
Since taking the job, Linder had two more children – for a total of three – all of whom live in Crystal Lake.
“I plan to spend more time with my wife. I was gone a lot,” Linder said. “And my grandchildren, I’ve got two and one on the way.”
For his retirement, the Crystal Lake resident plans to stay in town and could pursue something in the private sector, but not before taking time to relax.
Over his career Linder has seen just about every crime imaginable – from the routine to the bizarre. But there are some cases that stick in his head, such as the Beth Bosworth and Naoki Kamijima murders – both he saw through to the end.
“I was always lucky to have really, really good people around that were really competent,” he said.
In fact, it’s the people in the department, from the officers to office workers, that Linder will miss most of all.
“The people are what I’ll really remember the most,” he said. “These are people who see some pretty bad things day after day. And they wake up, undeterred, and come back to work. And they’re enthusiastic.”
Linder has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management and graduated from the FBI national academy.
He will be succeeded by James Black, the deputy police chief in Downers Grove. Black’s first day is Jan. 7