John C. “Jack” Hymel, who served as chief of police in Brookfield for 13 years in the 1980s and 1990s, died Nov. 17 at the age of 80.
Mr. Hymel served in the U.S. Navy aboard a submarine during the Korean War and joined the Brookfield Police Department in the late 1960s as a patrolman. He worked his way up to sergeant for investigations before being named a lieutenant under Chief Paul Schmidt.
According to Dan Hull, who was also a lieutenant in the department at the time, Mr. Hymel was Schmidt’s right-hand man.
“He was really good with administration,” said Hull, who retired in 1987.
When Schmidt retired in 1980, Mr. Hymel was tapped as his replacement, and he helped usher in a new era in the department – the digital era.
In 1984, Mr. Hymel became the first chief of police from Brookfield to serve as president of the West Suburban Police Chiefs Association.
According to the book, Brookfield, Illinois: A History, the mid-1980s saw the department implement a computer-aided dispatch center and computerized its records department. It was during Chief Hymel’s tenure that computer terminals were installed in squad cars.
In addition, in the later years of his tenure, the village passed a referendum to upgrade its 911 system and installed equipment that would remain in use until 2008.
“With John, we went more into the computer age,” said Hull.
Mr. Hymel also tasked Hull with creating the village’s first Neighborhood Watch program.
“It was at that time that people realized you don’t solve crimes without the community,” said Hull. “If we could get people to be involved, that’s what he wanted.”
Mr. Hymel retired as chief of police in 1993 after serving with the department for 35 years. Following his retirement, he spent four years as chief of police in Indian Head Park.
On Monday, the Brookfield Police Department issued a statement on Mr. Hymel’s contributions during his time in the village.
“Chief Hymel was a true leader and innovator who helped pave the way for future generations of law enforcement,” the statement read. “He served us and our community extremely well, and he will be missed.”
Jack Hymel was the husband of Sylvia (nee Struve); the father of John (Lorrie) Hymel, Shari (James) Erwin and Judith Ann (James) Lonteen; the grandfather of Jonathan, Adam, Ashley, Stephanie, Samantha, David, Bradley, Rebecca and Brian; the great-grandfather of Alex; and the companion for many years of Greta Adams.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 3 p.m. until the 6 p.m. memorial service at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, 5015 Lincoln Ave. in Lisle.
Memorial donations are appreciated to the American Cancer Society, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1210, Chicago, Ill. 60601.