Bob Uphues retired, congratulations! I want to acknowledge his significant contribution to everyday life in Brookfield, Riverside, and North Riverside. Bob was far more than a Landmark newspaper editor. I saw him yearly at the Fourth of July Parade when I worked in Riverside. I saw him at every board meeting I attended as Deputy Chief or Chief, and some of those board meetings went on until 1 or 1:30 in the morning at times. Yes, that is correct, and Bob was sitting there covering the village news.

My first contact with Bob was when I was a young detective sergeant. I oversaw the release of everyday criminal and police activities. In those days, we did not do it electronically. Bob would come into the police department twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays to sit down with me and review what is commonly called the “police blotter.” I learned early on never to withhold anything from him. While there were times I requested that some cases not be printed as they were still active, pending investigations, but would be able to be shared once they could be released in their entirety under Illinois law when closed or an arrest was made, he complied.

These were few and far between and usually involved juveniles or sex-related crimes. Bob would follow up with me weekly to see when he could have more information on those cases.

This weekly contact continued as I rose through the ranks to chief.

Bob helped me refine my commitment to transparency in policing and overall government.

Transparency in law enforcement might not always have been what all the local officials or some residents may have preferred. Still, I shared what I thought was in the community’s best interests regarding safety, and Bob helped me to communicate that transparency.

Bob was always open and honest with me and never sugar-coated things, including the news. He was an impressive, professional, and straightforward reporter whose quest was to fact-gather and obtain police reports and mugshots for the benefit of the community.

In a day and age when law enforcement agencies throughout the country have adverse relationships with their local media and, in some cases, national press, this was never the case with the Landmark under Bob Uphues’ leadership. 

I have nothing but respect for the Landmark newspaper, its entire staff, and specifically Bob Uphues. When Bob was on vacation, I usually dealt with Bob Skolnik, and he, too, was a true professional who followed in Bob Uphues’ footsteps. If you ever wanted to know what mentoring is in news organizations, the Landmark newspaper and Bob Uphues are where you should look.

Congratulations to Bob on his retirement and best of luck in his future endeavors. I want to thank him for mentoring me in what it means to have accurate, open, and transparent policing in America today.

Thomas Weitzel, 
Retired chief
Riverside Police Department