Joliet announces three new deputy police chiefs

The Joliet Police Department announced the appointments of three new deputy chiefs effective Friday.

The appointments announced Wednesday create a more diversified command staff at a time when Joliet like other cities has faced calls for police reform in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis last summer.

They also follow the appointment of interim Police Chief Dawn Malec, the first woman to head the department, on Monday.

The new deputy chiefs include two Black men and a white woman.

They are:

• Lt. Robert Brown, who has been with the department since 2000 and a lieutenant since 2014, and becomes deputy chief of operations.

• Lt. Sherrie Blackburn, who also joined the department in 2000 and became a lieutenant last year, and will be deputy chief of administration.

• Sgt. Carlos Matlock, who has been with the department since 1994 and was promoted to sergeant in 2020, and will be will be deputy chief of investigations.

One of the current deputy chiefs, Mike Batis, is remaining as deputy chief of technical services.

The new deputy chiefs will replace Darrell Gavin, deputy chief of administration; Marc Reid, deputy chief of investigations; and Joseph Rosado, deputy chief of operations. Gavin is being reassigned as a sergeant. Reid and Rosado will become lieutenants.

The police department provided background information on the new deputy chiefs in a news release announcing their appointments.

Brown has served in patrol, internal affairs and investigations, according to the police department news release. He is currently a watch commander in the patrol division.

He has a master’s degree in public safety administration from Lewis University and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Governors State University. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command as well as the Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University.

Blackburn also has been serving as a watch commander in the patrol division as well as being on the department’s crisis negotiation team and peer assistance team. She is the department’s LGBTQ liaison and a coordinator for the field training program.

Blackburn also has a master’s degree in public safety administration from Lewis University. Her bachelor’s degree is in recreation management and business from Missouri Valley College. She is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.

Matlock has been serving as a patrol sergeant and as part of the department’s crisis negotiation team.

Matlock has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from the University of Phoenix. He is a member of the Joliet Police Department Honor Guard, Black Police Officer Association, Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force, and Terrorists Officers Liaison Committee

Malec could not be reached for comment.

Councilwoman Jan Quillman, chairwoman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said she believed the new command staff “will do well.”

“I think it will bring a new, fresh perspective to the city, and, of course, the new chief would want her own command staff,” Quillman said.

New City Manager James Capparelli named Malec as police chief on his first day in the job on Monday.

Malec replaced Al Roechner, who appointed all four deputy chiefs.

Roechner issued his letter of retirement on Friday morning, hours before City Council met to approve the hiring of Capparelli. A shake-up in the police command staff was expected with the departure of Roechner.

Roechner has not returned calls for comment since reports that he had resigned began circulating Thursday afternoon.

Roechner’s position as chief was considered tenuous with the arrival of Capparelli as city manager.

Outgoing interim City Manager Jim Hock acknowledged that he had talked with Roechner the day before he submitted his resignation about his future under the change in city managers.

“We talked about his future here, what that means with me no longer in this seat,” Hock said on Friday. “He made a decision.”

Capparelli had the backing of Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who has been at odds with Roechner at least since September 2019 when a Roechner report on a controversy at the Fiesta en la Calle said the mayor had made false accusations that a sergeant working security at the event was drunk.

A few months before that, former interim City Manager Marty Shanahan, who appointed Roechner as chief in December 2019, tried to make changes in Roechner’s command staff. In the weeks following the Fiesta en la Calle incident, former interim City Manager Steve Jones hired a law firm to investigate conflicts between the police department and City Hall, including the mayor’s office.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News