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Yorkville mayor says police chief pick has 'community at heart'

Oswego Deputy Police Chief Jim Jensen will succeed Rich Hart, pending city council approval

YORKVILLE — The new Yorkville police chief may be coming from just the next town over.

Yorkville Mayor John Purcell said on Saturday, July 20 that Oswego Police Deputy Chief Jim Jensen would be his preference for the next Yorkville police chief.

Along with Jensen's impressive resume from a professional standpoint, Purcell said, he also appreciated Jensen being a local guy like him.

"He's really just got the community at heart and that's so important to me," Purcell said.

The announcement comes after city staff said they looked at more than 35 applicants for the job. The city is aiming to appoint a new chief and for current chief Rich Hart to retire by next month.

Jensen said he was humbled by the news that he was selected as the top pick as the city's new police chief, with that specific position being his career endgame from the very beginning.

"Being the police chief is a dream job for me," Jensen said. "I’m so excited and I can’t wait to get started," Jensen said.

Jensen said his first orders of business will include getting to know city officials, Yorkville police officers and also to focus on community policing from the very beginning.

Jensen earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the College of St. Francis and a master’s degree in law enforcement justice administration from Western Illinois University. He also worked as a patrol deputy for the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office after graduating from the Police Training Institute in Champaign, and he joined the Oswego police department in 1993 as a patrol officer.

Hart said he has known Jensen for 29 years and has worked closely with him throughout both of their careers. He said they started at the sheriff's office together and their careers paralleled each other as they both moved up the ranks in the area.

Hart said he thinks Jensen would make a great chief for Yorkville.

“I think he is an excellent candidate and a great choice by the mayor,” Hart said.

Jensen was promoted to deputy chief of the Oswego police department in 2014. Throughout the years, he has served as a field training officer, DARE and GREAT Officer, and was the department’s first junior high school liaison officer.

Jensen is the past president of the Kendall County Association of Chiefs of Police and currently sits on the Kendall County Board of Health. He is also a 2007 graduate of the FBI National Academy for police officials in Quantico, Virginia.

Jensen also is no stranger to Yorkville. He is a graduate of Yorkville High School, where he also met his wife Pam, and also is a current resident of Yorkville. They and their two children – Brooke, 20, and Tyler, 17 – also are Yorkville natives.

Purcell said Jensen being his pick for Yorkville police chief is set to go for a vote before the City Council during their Aug. 13 meeting. If the City Council approves Jensen as the new police chief on that date, it will also be Hart's official retirement date.

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