The Lake County Forest Preserve District, Illinois, seeks experienced police leaders as applicants to serve as its next Director of Public Safety. The Public Safety Department is a full-service conservation law enforcement organization that protects the District’s natural resources, facilities and the people that work in and visit the preserves. The department enforces conservation, criminal and traffic laws of the State of Illinois, and the ordinances of the Lake County Forest Preserve District. 

The mission of the Lake County Forest Preserves is preservation, restoration, education, and recreation. The Forest Preserve District oversees about 31,000 acres of natural land made up of 65 properties and approximately 265 miles of trails. It is the second largest forest preserve district in Illinois and serves a population of 711,239. Lake County Forest Preserves offer endless opportunities for year-round outdoor recreation, nature exploration and relaxation.

In addition to the Director of Public Safety, the Lake County Forest Preserve District Department of Public Safety is staffed by a total of 46 employees (25 full-time and 21 part-time). Full-time Ranger Police Officers are represented by the Fraternal Order of Police. The Police Department budget for 2022 is $3.33 million. The Director of Public Safety is appointed by the Executive Director with approval of the Board President, and reports to the Chief Operations Officer. 

The Director of Public Safety position is an outstanding opportunity for a progressive law enforcement leader. Lake County Forest Preserve District is seeking an experienced, innovative, collaborative police leader with demonstrated managerial, interpersonal and customer service skills. Successful candidates must have an outgoing personality and be approachable to County residents, visitors, and business and governmental leaders. The Director of Public Safety must be a skilled communicator, available to and engaged with all Public Safety Department staff and Forest Preserve District employees. 

The next Director should be committed to building and maintaining positive working relationships with other conservation, law enforcement and fire protection agencies. The Director should have the ability to understand and navigate sensitive issues and public perception and will function with a high level of emotional Intelligence. 

Successful candidates will possess:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field of study such as law, police science, criminal justice, public administration, or a related field. A Master’s Degree is preferred. 
  • Certification as a law enforcement officer in Illinois or the ability to obtain certification within 12 months of hire through the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.
  • Ten years related experience in a law enforcement agency, including command level experience, necessary to gain a full understanding and proficiency in law enforcement, personnel and financial management, and public administration. Internal and external investigation experience required.
  • Ability to obtain the Voluntary Police Chief Certification (VPCC) through the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. 
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of police administration, leadership, and management practices (Command education/leadership training such as: the F.B.I. National Academy, Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, Senior Management Institute for Police or similar programs is highly desirable). 
  • Knowledge of contract administration and collective bargaining agreements. 
  • Ability to successfully qualify with firearms annually; ability to successfully pass and re-qualify in specialized training areas, as necessary.
  • Experience in developing and implementing new and revised administrative methods, policies, and procedures. Ability to develop and implement short and long term goals and work plans for the Public Safety Department.
  • Considerable knowledge of federal and state laws and local ordinances pertinent to the Public Safety function.
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license.

The current annual salary range for this position is $125,469 – $188,091 depending upon qualificationsThe Lake County Forest Preserve District also offers an attractive benefits package.

The Lake County Forest Preserve District strives for a diverse workforce that is representative of the community it serves. The District believes diversity and inclusion among teammates is critical to the success of District operations. 

Electronic submissions are required. Interested professionals should submit a resume, cover letter and contact information for 5 professional references by September 2, 2022 at Please contact consultant Joe De Lopez at (847) 380-3240 x 115 for further information.


Click HERE for Brochure!

Application Deadline: September 2, 2022

Posted: 2022-08-19

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