Denise McGrather, formerly detective sergeant for the Homewood Police Department, was officially sworn in as the village's first female deputy chief of police at the Oct. 23 Village of Homewood Board of Trustees meeting. Her appointment fills the vacancy left by Dale Gustafson when he retired in March.
"It's exciting to have a new person aboard," Police Chief Larry Burnson said. "Deputy Chief Gustafson was the deputy chief for the entire time—I've been here 11 years, and he was deputy chief that entire time I was here. Deputy Chief Alcott has been deputy chief, now, for about two and a half years, so this is a brand new position to our administrative team, and I think it brings new ideas and excitement to the department."
While McGrath officially took her oath of office on Oct. 23, she assumed the duties and responsibilities of the job on Sunday, Oct. 21. Burnson began the process of appointing a new deputy chief in August by announcing to all eligible sergeants that somebody would be promoted to the position. He said three candidates went through a process that involved work assignments, interviews, and follow-up questions, and McGrath came out on top, largely because of her familiarity with several areas of the department.
"I think she had the most experience of all the candidates put together," Burnson said. "She had been with more divisions within the department."
According to Burnson, McGrath started her career with the Homewood Police Department as a public safety dispatcher in 1990 before leaving to become a police officer in South Holland in 1991. She returned to Homewood as a full-time officer in 1995, working in the patrol and investigative divisions before her promotion to sergeant in 2008.
She oversaw police training programs for two years until her appointment as a detective sergeant in 2010. McGrath has a Bachelor's degree in public safety administration and is currently working towards a Master's in criminal justice from Governor's State University.
McGrath's niece, Trisha Demko, flew in from Minnesota to present her with her badge during the ceremony.
Other police business at the meeting included Officer Richard Sewell taking his oath of office as a sergeant, accompanied by his daughters Ciara and Allison, who pinned his badge on his uniform.