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Chief Paul Winfrey and Detective Commander Lee Elliot retired from the Park Forest Police Department this week.
The veterans collectively gave almost 50 years of service to the Village of Park Forest. Winfrey retired last Friday, and Elliot's last day with the department is today.
Winfrey began his career with the Sycamore Police Department (IL) and joined the Park Forest Police Department in 1998. While on the force, Winfrey was recognized for several awards and received promotions as he worked his way up the ranks.
Elliot is a second-generation officer at PFPD, and he served in the United States Marine Corps before beginning his career in Park Forest in 2000.
Earlier in his career, Elliot served as a field training officer and K-9 officer, being the handler of a Bloodhound and a German Shepherd. He would go on to be promoted to the ranks of corporal and then commander, graduate from the School of Police Staff and Command and take the lead of the Investigations Division as detective commander in 2018.
Elliot received numerous awards, including the 2011 Officer of the Year, two-time Medal of Valor, Life Saving Award, and multiple Meritorious Service Awards.
Elliot was recognized the last Monday's Board meeting. He also took time to thank his family for their commitment to the force.
"It's bittersweet leaving, but I'd like to thank my [wife and children] for all of the late-night calls that wake everyone up in the middle of the night," Elliot said. "They served as much, if not more, like officers and firefighters."
Brian Rzyski was appointed as the new chief of police upon Winfrey's departure. Before the promotion, Rzyski served as the deputy chief.
Rzyski and Winfrey have been working together to ensure a seamless transition, continuing PFPD's 74-year commitment to providing outstanding service to residents and visitors of the Village.
Additionally, the two other promotions with the department are Police Commanders Julius Moore and Paul Morache.