Evanston Police retiree Guenther ‘very fortunate’ as College of Lake County police chief

Marshall Cohen

Cmdr. Tom Guenther, as he was recently known at the Evanston Police Department, is now chief of police at the College of Lake County Police Department in Grayslake, Ill. His EPD retirement came March 23 after 27 years of service as a patrol officer, detective, administrator and media spokesman. He took time away from transitioning to his new position Monday to speak with The Daily.

Daily: How have things changed in Evanston since you started with EPD in 1985?

Guenther: I started March 25, 1985. The thing that remained consistent was the quality of people. The police officers that I’ve worked with over the years – everyone from the chiefs on down – have always been quality individuals. Some of the things that have changed over the years were the technology. The ability to interface with agencies throughout the state and get information to the officers has improved.

Daily: What will you miss the most about working in Evanston?

Guenther: I’ll miss the journalism students at Medill. They’ve all been quality people.

Daily: You recently served as the EPD public information officer. What was it like to deal with the all the local Evanston media?

Guenther: I always found the media to be very engaging. They were always inquisitive and on top of their game. I had a very good working relationship with them.

Daily: Is there any case you worked that was particularly memorable?

Guenther: The ones that stand out are the bummer ones that I really wouldn’t want to get into. You remember the homicides you work on and things like that. There are obviously cases that are in your memory for a long time.

Daily: How did your experience working with Northwestern and Evanston prepare you to become the chief of police at the College of Lake County, which has campuses in three cities and about 20,000 students?

Guenther: I was always assisting with Northwestern University as a street-level supervisor for football games and working with their officers. The relationship that the Evanston Police Department has with University Police is very good. There was mutual respect there. I actually started off my career at Northwestern University as a campus police officer for about two years immediately before transitioning to Evanston.

Daily: As a child, did you dream of becoming a police chief?

Guenther: I knew I wanted to be a police officer early on in my life. Then you always want to see what opportunities present themselves in your career and prepare for those positions. Some positions I obtained, others I didn’t. But I feel very fortunate to be able to lead the College of Lake County Police Department.

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