Flossmoor Police Chief Pulec retires from law enforcement

Police Chief Michael Pulec has retired from the Flossmoor Police Department after a 33-year career in law enforcement.
Mayor Paul Braun reads a resolution honoring Flossmoor Police Chief Mike Pulec for his service Monday, May 20. Pulec retired from the department May 17. (Stephanie Markham/H-F Chronicle)
  Mayor Paul Braun reads a
  resolution honoring Flossmoor
  Police Chief Michael Pulec at
  the May 20 board meeting.
  Pulec retired from the
  department on May 17.
 
 (Stephanie Markham/H-F Chronicle)
 

Deputy Chief Tod Kamleiter will serve as acting police chief while the village seeks a replacement.

On May 17, his final day as chief, Pulec was honored at a village hall reception by family members, Flossmoor officials, law enforcement personnel, residents and more than two dozen police chiefs from neighboring towns.

It was a sometimes emotional gathering that featured Pulec's final radio call as a police professional.

Pulec, 57, called the dispatch center that serves Flossmoor and other nearby towns and said that he was signing off for the last time. He included a message for the other law enforcement personnel who work to keep communities safe.

"It's been an honor to serve with you," Pulec said. "You are my heroes."

The dispatcher on the other end of Pulec's transmission thanked him for his years of service to the community.

"You will be missed," she said.

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun presented Pulec with a framed collage of every police badge he wore throughout his 33-year career. Braun also gave him a new badge that identifies Pulec as Flossmoor's retired police chief.

Pulec's fellow officers gave him framed photos of his beloved 1971 Chevelle, which he painstakingly restored and displays at car shows around the Midwest.

Originally, Pulec planned to retire in October. He moved up his departure after recently being offered a job with the licensing bureau at the Illinois Gaming Board, a non-law enforcement position at the board's Chicago office.

"I'll be a civilian," he said.

Braun said the village is conducting a statewide search to hire a new police chief, while encouraging internal candidates to apply. According to village code, mayor Braun technically could appoint a new a police chief, with approval from village trustees.

“We are living in a time now where public service officials — especially high profile appointees such as the police chief of a community — are scrutinized,” Braun said.

“While the village board and I believe we have qualified talent already within the police department, we believe it’s probably in the best interest of the department and our organization to conduct recruitment for our next police chief.”

Braun said the village hopes to select a candidate within a month.

“The prospect of a new police chief brings thoughts of change and uncertainty, but it also brings new ideas and opportunities here for our community,” Braun said.

“We’re confident the process we’re going to undertake to select a new police chief will provide us with the best candidate.” 

Originally from Chicago Heights, Pulec began his career as a dispatcher and police officer for the Village of Flossmoor in 1983, then worked in South Chicago Heights starting in 1987. 

He returned to Flossmoor five years later in 1992. He moved up the ranks from sergeant to detective sergeant, then deputy police chief in 2006 and finally police chief in 2013.

Pulec said what makes Flossmoor unique from a police perspective is the support residents give the police department.

“I would get emails all the time from residents to express concerns or to report crime in the area,” Pulec said. “They really care about the community and want to keep it safe.”

He said the village's next police chief should keep in mind the importance of relationship building between the community and police department.

“In a small community like this, you have to have one-on-one,” Pulec said. “It’s really important to keep that open-door policy and make sure you’re there to listen to people’s concerns.”

He added that many crimes are solved because of residents observing and reporting what they see.

“We’re a community oriented police department,” Pulec said. “Residents demand a lot of us, which just shows how much they really care. I hope I served them well.”

In addition to Kamleiter's appointment as acting police chief during the May 20 board meeting, two new police officers were sworn in and a new part-time community service officer was introduced.

Officer James VanWitzenburg started as a probationary patrol officer for the village in March and is currently training to become a full-time police officer. Theresa Daniel started with the village in May and is currently attending the Cook County Sheriff’s Academy.

Part-time community service officer Avery Johnson started with the village in April and is pursuing a career in law enforcement.
 

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