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Schererville Town Hall

Schererville Town Hall

SCHERERVILLE — Dennis J. Zagrocki's days as interim police chief are over.

Schererville Town Council President Rob Guetzloff and Councilmen Kevin Connelly, R-2nd and Tom Schmitt, D-4th, said the council unanimously voted Wednesday night to name Zagrocki as the permanent chief of police.

Zagrocki replaces David A. Dowling, who retired in February to campaign for the Democratic nomination for county sheriff in the spring. Sheriff Oscar Martinez won that contest.

Zagrocki, who has four decades of service with the department, had served as deputy police chief under Dowling since 2012. He also had served as deputy chief between 2005 and 2008 and as served as police chief between 1989 and 1992.

Connelly said there were no other candidates for police chief. The town has had a number of changes in its Police Department leadership over the years as the Town Council's balance in power has shifted.

"It has been well over 20 years since we had a 5-0 vote on a police chief," Guetzloff said. "This job is not new to Dennis. Dennis has been in every division and brings 40 years of experience to the table."

Schmitt said Zagrocki named Sgt. Joseph Gasiorek as deputy chief.

Connelly and Schmitt said the council also voted to amend the town's salary ordinance to create the position of retired police chief, a budget maneuver needed to provide pay Dowling vacation, sick leave and other benefits he had amassed over 34 years of employment with the town in installments that will take place until October.

Connelly said, "We are very happy about these moves. All five (council members) were in agreement. Dennis and Joe were both sworn in last night. It is a good example of us working together. This also shows our young officers there is a career path here," Connelly said.

Schmitt said, "We decided Dennis was doing a good job and make him permanent chief. Dennis has plans in the near future to retire and we gave him the opportunity to pick his own deputy.

Council members Mike Troxell, and David DeJong couldn't be reached Thursday for comment.

Zagrocki said, "I appreciate the town council naming me the police chief. I will dedicate myself to the police department and the town."

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Lake County reporter

Bill has reported in Lake County since 1972 after graduating from Indiana University. He has worked for The Times since 1997, covering the courts and local government during much of his tenure. Born and raised in New Albany, Ind., he is a native Hoosier.