By Bob Uphues
Riverside Deputy Police Chief John Krull will retire in early January after 25 years of service in order to take the reins as chief of police in south suburban Olympia Fields.
Krull's last day with Riverside will be Jan. 6, just one day after he celebrates a quarter century as a police officer in the village. The 48-year-old Krull has been the department's deputy chief since May 2008, when he was promoted from lieutenant to fill that post.
"It's certainly no reflection on the village of Riverside," Krull said of his departure. "I was fortunate enough to get the training, education and experience here. I was very happy to be the deputy chief here. But there comes a point in time when you've reached your potential in a position."
With Police Chief Thomas Weitzel having no plans to retire any time soon, Krull decided the time was right to begin looking for a place to continue his career by leading his own department.
"I wasn't happy just sitting still and waiting to be promoted," Krull said.
Weitzel praised Krull's performance as deputy chief and said he understood his deputy chief's wish to seek other opportunities.
"He's always wanted to be a chief, and there was a chance to be had over there," said Weitzel. "I think you have to take those opportunities as they come. John's influence over there will only be positive."
He has served as a patrolman, sergeant and detective for the police department during his time with the village. In March 2008, he graduated from the FBI National Academy and has been an important administrator for the department, said Weitzel.
"He's certainly become extremely efficient at administrative work," said Weitzel. "He's learned how to deal directly with the village manager's office and elected officials. He also had the respect of the entire department."
Krull recently completed a complete overhaul of the department's internal policy manual and general orders for its officers. The year-long effort including adding policies related to such things as social networking, DNA testing, the use of Tasers and other newer topics not included in the department's former manual.
"I'm incredibly proud [of that project]," said Krull. "It was a very intensive internal process, and resulted in general orders and policies that will stand up in court to protect the village and officers."
Krull leaves to head the police department in Olympia Fields, a predominantly African-American community of about 5,000 people with a median household income of $82,399, according to the 2010 Census.
He was introduced to the community at the Olympia Fields Village Board meeting on Nov. 26. According to Weitzel, Krull was the top candidate out of more than 80 applicants for the position. Olympia Fields began its search for a new chief in July.
Weitzel said he will begin the process of seeking to promote other officers and hire a new police officer to fill Krull's spot, once Krull has officially retired in January.
Detective Sgt. David Krull, who is the deputy chief's brother, is at the top of the department's promotion list for lieutenant. Officer Leo Kotor is at the top of the list for promotion to sergeant.
If David Krull is promoted to lieutenant, Weitzel will have to name a new detective for the department.
However, Weitzel said that he won't seek to name a new deputy chief until sometime later in 2013, after the rest of the internal shuffling is complete.
"I'll ask to fill all of the other sports and then address the deputy chief position," said Weitzel.
The department's senior lieutenant is Lt. William Legg.
With Krull moving on to Olympia Fields, he'll be the second command staff employee from Riverside to leave for a chief's job since 2006. That year, Commander Mark Tuma left Riverside to become police chief of Cloverdale, Calif., a job he still holds.