Hard work gets credit in Elgin police promotions
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News June 1, 2012 7:36PM
Elgin Police officer Enrique Santiago (left) is applauded by Chief Jeff Swoboda and others after being promoted to Sgt. Friday during a promotion ceremony at the Elgin Police Department. June 1, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2012 10:38AM
ELGIN — One thing was certain at Friday’s promotion ceremony at the Elgin Police Department — “they are here to say congratulations to Rick,” quipped Police Chief Jeff Swoboda.
Lt. Rick Ciganek and Sgt. Enrique “Rick” Santiago were pinned — given their promotion rank pins — by their wives during a 3 p.m. swearing-in ceremony. The police station lobby was filled with their co-workers, retired officers, city of Elgin officials and Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez as well.
The promotions were due in part to the recent retirement of Lt. Tom O’Herron, Swoboda said. The department also plans to hire another officer in the near future to maintain the full staff of 180 sworn officers.
Both men are longtime Elgin officers who worked their way up through the department, starting in patrol like any other officer and working in the department’s speciality areas along the way, Swoboda added.
‘Part of our success’
Santiago is one of the hardest-working officers in a very hard-working department, Swoboda said. “He is part of the success of our department” who has taken on the role of a field training officer, teaching young hires the ropes of being an Elgin police officer.
He has also taken an active role in the department’s interventional programs, talking to kids and parents about drugs and gangs, Swoboda said. Santiago’s work has helped Elgin and the department in a real way because of his involvement in the community, Swoboda added.
“That is such a quality that is important in a police officer,” Swoboda said
Santiago thanked his parents for teaching him what a work ethic is, and how to work hard, he said.
His parents barely spoke English when they moved to Elgin, Santiago said. His parents learned the language and succeeded here. To do that, his father worked at times three jobs when Santiago was younger. Now retired to Puerto Rico, his parents came back for the promotion ceremony.
In Spanish, he thanked his parents for all they had done for him and asked for their blessing in his role as a sergeant.
On leadership team
Ciganek, who was promoted to lieutenant, will now be part of the leadership team at the police department as the afternoon shift watch commander. He came to Elgin in 1995 and has been a police officer for nearly 20 years, Ciganek said.
He also learned from Santiago, Ciganek said. Learning how to be a cop doesn’t start in the classroom, he said, but by doing the hard work.
“This is a job based on experience, and by being willing to be shown the way” by more experienced officers, Ciganek said.
There is much work ahead this summer for the department, Swoboda said after the ceremony. While the department has seen a decrease in the number of gang-related shootings this year — just three so far this year, compared to eight in the same period last year, and 12 the year before — he hopes to see crime drop further this summer.
He’s telling his officers to aggressively patrol for curfew violations this summer — getting kids under the age of 17 in their homes by 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. With juveniles at home, they can neither be the victim or perpetrator of crime, he said.
Plans are also to respond to fireworks complaints aggressively, Swoboda said. Officers will confiscate illegal fireworks and, for people shooting them, will ticket them with a local ordinance violation.