THORNTON | The Village Board last week unanimously approved Doug Beckman to serve as Thornton's new police chief.
Beckman, who had served as deputy chief since 2006, takes over for former Chief Norb Schlesser, who resigned last month.
"He was a mentor to me and I wouldn't have the knowledge and the experience that I have today without his guidance," Beckman said.
Village Administrator Jason Wicha said Schlesser left to accept a position with a school district in Highland.
Beckman has been with the Thornton Police Department full-time since 1994.
"We're happy to be able to fill the position internally," Wicha said.
Beckman said keeping up with a small increase in crime that has been noticeable in the village since the economy took a downturn is one of the challenges the department faces.
He plans to solicit input from the other nine full-time Thornton police officers to set department goals.
"I think I'd like to get the officers back into the community a little more," Beckman said. "My goal is to bring the bicycle program back. I think the residents like to see a little more personal interaction with our Police Department."
Schlesser had served as chief since 2006.
Wicha said installing a K-9 program was one of Schlesser's most important contributions.
"We were all very sad to see him go," Wicha said. "He served the community well and really was an excellent chief for the community."
In other village news:
* A proposed five-story, 50-apartment senior housing residence at 400 E. Margaret St. could still become a reality following the Village Board's approval earlier this month of a special use application and zoning variance that allows Weiss Properties to continue to pursue the development.
Trustee Judy Diekelman cast the lone dissenting vote when the board on Oct. 1 reconsidered its July 16 decision to not grant approval to the application and variance.
* Halloween trick-or-treat hours in Thornton will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.