ILACP leaders fondly recall their mentors:

A remarkable list of our leaders and their 23 mentors

Compiled by Ed Wojcicki

Published in Command magazine, Fall 2022

We asked the current Board of Officers and some ILACP past presidents and members to name their mentors and received a lot of thoughtful responses. They are edited slightly for context and consistency:

Darren Gault
Chief of Police, Moline PD
ILACP Vice President, 2022 – present

My mentors were two people in the East Moline PD: John Reynolds (retired Chief) and Tom Reagan (retired Captain). I’ve had a lot of mentors that helped me in each assignment, role or position that I held over my career. I worked for Tom Reagan and John Reynolds for most of my career. I was a detective under Lt. Reagan, a sergeant under Lt. Reynolds, a lieutenant under Capt. Reagan and a captain under Chief Reynolds. I think it is important to see successful leaders and mentors and take small tidbits from each person to bake into your own leadership pie. I never wanted to be just like a mentor, but rather learn as much as I could from each one. Both Tom and John were gracious enough to give me opportunities, experiences and education to grow and be successful. Most of all, they believed in me and had the confidence in me that I would get the job done. I am grateful for their role in my growth and success over the years. If you can learn anything from Chief John Reynolds, it is a simple quote: “No matter how challenging the day is today, just remember the sun will come up tomorrow.”

Shanon Gillette
Chief of Police, Downers Grove
ILACP Vice President, 2022 - present

It is nearly impossible to narrow the list, but here are a few!

  • George Graves, Chief of Police, Downers Grove (ret.), and Chief of Police, Western Springs (ret.). Chief Graves taught me to do the job each day in a manner that would make my family proud.  
  • Robert Porter, Chief of Police, Huntley, and Chief of Police, Downers Grove (ret.). Chief Porter has modeled what it means to be an ethical, participative and inclusive leader for over three decades. Chief Porter “pulled the curtain back” on the role of police chief to afford others the opportunity to be a part of our organization’s leadership succession plan.
  • Michael Gillette, Chief of Police, Round Lake (ret.). As a brother, mentor, and friend, Chief Gillette recognized potential in me that even I didn’t see, taught me to chart my own course, and showed me the value of family and faith in a leader’s life. 


  • Dr. Raymond Garritano, Assistant Professor, Lewis University, and Chief of Police, Indian Head Park (ret.). Dr. Garritano taught me that leaders are lifelong learners and that a leader’s success is measured by the investment we make in others.

Marc Maton
Chief of Police, Lemont PD
ILACP Vice President, 2021 - present

My mentor was Larry Mulcrone when both of us were with the Illinois State Police. He was a father figure and was always interested in what was best for me. He looked out for me even when I wasn't aware it was occurring.

Louis Jogmen
Chief of Police, Highland Park PD
ILACP President, 2022 - present

My mentor was my father, Officer Louis F. Jogmen. Although our time together was cut short (after he was shot in the line of duty in Tinley Park), his impact on my life has been profound. I work each day to make him proud, and I elected to pursue a career in law enforcement to carry on where his life of service left off. Even though he is not here, when I make decisions or need guidance, I feel his hand on my shoulder, and it truly helps me as I chart a path forward.

Another mentor is Chief Steve Casstevens. I have never met a police administrator who was so deeply committed to the profession. So much so, that he has immersed himself at the local, state and international levels. His sole purpose is to support and to move law enforcement forward. His approach is selfless, genuine, professional and competent. It is clear that he cares about the work that individual law enforcement officers do, as well as how that work impacts them and their families.

Mitchell R. Davis III
Chief of Police, Hazel Crest
ILACP President, 2021-2022

I have had many mentors come into my life. Some have been for a season; some are still in my life today. I could give many names, but next to my parents here are two that have been long lasting mentors.

Retired Chief Greg Baker was a mentor who was crucial to my law enforcement career. When I became one of four Black police officers in the Park Forest Police Department in 1991, he became a shining example of a police officer, a leader, and a distinguished Black man to me. Greg would pull my coattail when I needed to be made aware of forces that were working against me. He would also lovingly tell me the corrections that I needed make in my life, and he has always been one of my greatest cheerleaders. He is the big brother that I never had. He and his wife are life-long friends.

Retired College Counselor Ellene Beard was a mentor/mother to me and countless other young people of color. She came to Thornton Township High School in 1978 during my junior year. The Village of Harvey and Thornton were in a transitional period. In previous years at the school there had been race riots at times and tensions sometimes existed. While Black students weren’t mistreated by the administration, we didn’t know what we didn’t know until Mrs. Beard came. She helped all students, but she made the Black students who were smart realize that we were smart and could compete academically with anyone at the highest levels. She showed all students that they were qualified and equipped to go on to college, the military or trade schools and excel. Due to her efforts, there are countless thousands of young people who have gone on to do great things that have impacted the world. She is still in my life today and is considered part of my family.

James R. Black
Chief of Police, Crystal Lake
ILACP President, 2020-2021

I was pretty fortunate to have several mentors during my career. Bob Porter in Downers Grove was a mentor, but he and I were peers throughout my career. I would probably say that Ray Byrne and Rick Ginex were mentors for me. They always treated you with respect, knew how to do the job, trusted you and always made the type of decisions that would make you say, "If I'm ever a supervisor that's how I would treat people." Ray and Rick were both sergeants early in my career and then both were promoted up the chain. Ray was Deputy Chief and later became the Chief of the Lombard Police Department. Rick was Chief and later went on to become the city manager for a few municipalities, finishing in Oak Brook.

Steven Casstevens
Chief of Police, Buffalo Grove
ILACP President, 2016-2017
IACP President, 2019-2020

I’ve had a lot of mentors in my career, but two of them clearly rise to the top. Sadly, both of them have passed on. My first mentor within my own agency was Clint Herdegen when he was police chief in Hoffman Estates. Clint gave me numerous opportunities and allowed me the flexibility to initiate programs and ideas that other chiefs may not have. Clint also understood my passion for serving both the ILACP and the International Chiefs and gave me time to attend the conferences of both. He knew that it would benefit me in my future.

My biggest mentor was Chief Russ Laine. Russ saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself. When I was chair of the ILACP Traffic Safety Committee, Russ saw the passion that I had for that, and he pulled me aside and told me that he wanted me to serve in a much larger capacity. He told me that he had my future planned out for me, which included becoming president of the ILACP and then president of IACP.  I clearly did not see either of those in my future, but Russ believed in me. He helped guide me in the right direction and of course, both of those came true.

Frank Kaminski
Chief of Police, Park Ridge PD
ILACP President, 2015-2016

My mentor was Bill Logan, chief of the Evanston PD.  He took me under his wing when he was a captain and I was going through the ranks. He saw something in me, challenged me, and provided me with opportunities to move my career forward.  We both had something in common in that we wanted to try and experiment with issues in policing.  This was back in the 1980s when everyone was rethinking the role of police. When he became chief, I was his confidante on re-imagining the department. In return, I gave him my upmost respect and loyalty and continued to support him.  I owe my career to him.  As an African American, he supported the causes for Black officers, but he was color blind when it came to me.  An interesting relationship.

Fred Hayes, Jr.
Chief of Police, Elwood PD
ILACP President, 2014-2015

My mentor was my father, Fred Hayes, Sr. My dad instilled within me the values of honesty, kindness, integrity and humility. He was my hero and gave me the foundation to be a police officer.  During his 42 years in law enforcement, he was president of Illinois Chiefs Association and a past president of the Georgia Chiefs Association. He was a great father and a true professional.

Robert Porter
Chief of Police, Huntley PD
ILACP President, 2012

I have been fortunate to have had several key mentors in my life. My father, Robert Porter, set the tone for me growing up. He always taught us to treat people with respect and to work hard. He was never influenced by material things and always emphasized the importance of family and on doing the little things for people. When I say this, I mean doing things such as calling people when they are sick, saying hello to people, taking time to do something that is important to someone, whether it was playing catch after a long day of work or attending an event that you knew meant a great deal to that person. He always taught me the difference of what is right and what is wrong and the importance of making an effort to pick somebody up when they are down or need help. My father was a very humble person and got more satisfaction out of seeing others succeed than taking the credit himself. Even though he never served in any formal  leadership position, he really shaped me as a person and as a leader. I do not think he ever realized how these life lessons turned into the “gold standard” of leadership, in my opinion.

People like George Graves, who hired me, and Rick Ginex, who promoted me to Chief of Police in Downers Grove, were also instrumental in my professional development.

As far as my time on the ILACP Board, Russ Laine had a tremendous influence on me and taught me the “ins and outs” about how to balance my work with the ILACP and my other professional obligations.

Pat O’Connor
Retired Chief of Police
ILACP President
, 2010

One of my mentors was John Burian, a college professor and director of security at Moraine Valley Community College in the early 1970s.  I was a long-haired guy with no interest in Introduction to Criminal Justice, but took his class to shut my mom up about going to college. I thought it was the easiest class I could find, and I had no interest at all in becoming a police officer. NONE. Never. I never bought a book yet aced the class. I was the only non-law enforcement guy in the class, and the only long hair. Yet he asked me to come to work for him part time, and I learned I could be good at this, and within a short time became a police officer in the municipal world.  If it weren’t for John, I don't think I would have ever taken this path. I had no interest, but he saw it in me. Thirty-four years later, after retiring from LaGrange and Worth, I found myself back at Moraine teaching and becoming the chief of the community college police department. John was on the police chief selection panel that hired me.

My second mentor was Chief Gary Konzak. He was my training officer when I went to LaGrange, and later he was my sergeant, lieutenant and chief. He was responsible for pushing me to finish my BA and MS. I served as a squad leader under his command. It seemed as if I was always one step behind him in rank, and he was always pushing me and giving me the hard assignments. He discussed my future with me and when I was happy being a sergeant, he said why not become a chief?  He recommended me to the U of I international Police exchange program, allowing me to work in and with British officers both here and in the UK. When he left for the Carol Stream PD, I was appointed Acting Chief. He soon became the chief in Grand Junction, CO and would come back home and always discuss my future with me. He encouraged me to retire from LaGrange and take the Worth PD position and also become active with the Illinois Chiefs association. He passed away before I left LaGrange and moved forward with the Chiefs, but I know I never would have been able to achieve what I had in this career if it weren’t for my training officer so many years ago pushing me and giving me all the "hard assignments" and difficult people, always saying this will make you a better chief.

John Millner
Retired Chief of Police
ILACP President, 2001

Before I became a police officer, I had a cop friend who encouraged me to to start a career in law enforcement. He probably doesn’t even know he was my mentor but he was always there for me over the years. He had a bit of a colorful background and was and still is a wise man. His name is Brian Barth and spent his career with the Broadview PD, retiring as a sergeant. 

Gary Schira
Retired Chief of Police
ILACP President, 1997

My mentor was Chief Carl Dobbs in the Wheaton PD. There are so many ways that he helped me.

  • Carl was a seasoned lieutenant on Wheaton PD and I was a young, newly minted sergeant on the Bloomingdale PD. When we first met through a mutual acquaintance and despite  a 15-year age difference, Carl took a liking to me and immediately began mentoring me when I was a nobody and he was highly respected by all. He saw something in me!
  • With that professional mentoring also came a very strong bond of personal friendship.  He accepted me as I was, warts and all.
  • He believed in me and what I could achieve more than I believed in myself. He gave me more self-confidence by his unwavering support.
  • He encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone (which was scary) and seek a leadership position first in the DuPage Chiefs of Police Association and then the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. I admit I may have thought I didn’t measure up or wasn’t up for the challenge.
  • He always emphasized my strengths and never dwelled on my weaknesses.
  • He was always there for invaluable advice, counsel and direction.  For the most part, he’d already “been there, done that.”
  • He was a tremendous role model — professional, high integrity, intelligent, personable and respected by others.
  • I miss him deeply!  He’s like the big brother I never had!

Others who helped to guide my journey were Ron Pavlock, Chuck McDonald, Ed Hogan, Chuck Gruber, Darrell Sanders, George Graves and George Koertge.

George Graves
Retired Police Chief
ILACP President, 1975

I was a mentor through the International Chiefs’ program.  Volunteers for their program submitted resumes to the IACP. They linked you with a chief, you established communications via emails and phone conversations.  I don’t recall that the Illinois Chiefs had a formal mentoring program per se; it’s just something I do and encourage other experienced  law enforcement leaders to do, to share their experiences to promote successful careers.  I was blessed, serving in LE for 41 years, 35 as police chief in progressive communities.

Here’s a partial tally of my mentor/mentee relationships, and I recognize that these folks already had talents that would make them successful:

Western Springs: Two who served under me went on to become chiefs.

Downers Grove: Four became chiefs. Two of those served as president of ILACP; two became deputy chiefs of college police departments. Two became City/Village Managers.

Lombard: Two became chiefs of police.

I was blessed and fortunate to be around as the Illinois Chiefs were really getting started, even though it had been formally organized in 1941. My chief in Western Springs, Charles F. Petersen, was ILACP President in 1961.

The early board members and presidents were great mentors to new members, as was Jake Novak, the Secretary Treasurer from 1942 to 1973.  All one needed to do is listen and ask good questions.  Among my favorite Jake stories was when I became a member.  The records indicate I became a member in 1966.  I was appointed in September of 1965 and sent in my dues in October.  Rather than have me pay again for 1966, he held check to the beginning of dues collection. That saved me $10, and I’ve never forgotten that kindness.

Schenita Stewart
New Chief of Police, Evanston PD

At the Lincolnwood PD, I was so fortunate to have a mentor such as Cary Lewandowski, who is currently the Public Safety Director for the Village of Glencoe. Lewandowski has guided me throughout my career by consistently providing knowledge, experience and honesty in this demanding profession. I would not be the Chief of Police for the Evanston Police Department without his selflessness in taking on the responsibility to coach and mentor me. I am truly honored to call him not only a mentor but a friend.