Thomas Weitzel, who just marked 32 years as a Riverside police officer, was appointed to another four years in that position on May 4, when the village board approved a new four-year contract that will expire in April 2021.
Weitzel, 56, could retire right now and receive a full pension, but said he was “honored” to have been chosen to continue to lead the police department he’s served since 1984.
“It’s not about the money for me,” said Weitzel. “I enjoy the job. This village has a great police force and command staff. It’s really about the people under me who are doing the work.”
The contract runs concurrently with the term of the village president, and the deal includes a new provision that calls for Weitzel to receive cash bonuses for staying on the job at the end of each year.
In addition to annual merit raises, for which Weitzel will continue to qualify, he can receive a bonus of $3,000 for staying on through the first payroll period in December 2017. That bonus jumps to $4,000 at the end of 2018 and $5,000 at the end of both 2019 and 2020.
The contract also calls for Weitzel to receive two additional personal days per year, for a total of eight. Weitzel also gets 25 vacation days per year and has unrestricted use of a vehicle as police chief.
According to Village Manager Jessica Frances, Weitzel received a 3-percent merit raise at the beginning of 2017, bringing his annual salary to $140,762. Since Weitzel agreed to his last contract in 2013, his salary has increased 13 percent overall as a result of the annual merit raises averaging about 3.2 percent.
Weitzel is considered a key part of the village’s executive management team, which is led by Frances, who also had her contract extended on May 4 to April 2021. Earlier this year Frances received a pay raise that brought her salary to $140,000 annually. She also received a $10,000 bonus at the end of 2016.
“I really like the way the government here in Riverside runs,” Weitzel said. “The political process here is supportive of public safety, whether it’s police or fire and they always give us a fair shake.
“For me it’s more professional, and I want to be associated with a professional organization and professional government. It makes me want to stay and thrive.”
Weitzel has three sons, all of whom are in law enforcement. Two of his sons are patrolmen for the village of North Riverside.