Get to know RPD: Sgt. Chet Smith retiring in coming months after 20 years

Rochelle Police Department Sgt. Chet Smith is a patrol supervisor currently on day shift. He’s been with RPD for 20 years. Smith’s responsibilities in his position include supervision of patrol operations on shift as well as investigating the calls he gets dispatched to.

‘I have numerous experiences on the job that are memorable’

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Police Department Sgt. Chet Smith is a patrol supervisor currently on day shift. He’s been with RPD for 20 years.

Smith’s responsibilities in his position include supervision of patrol operations on shift as well as investigating the calls he gets dispatched to.

After high school, Smith said he worked jobs “here and there” including for a local company for seven or eight years. He was then hired by the Illinois Department of Corrections as a correctional officer, where he worked for a few years until he was hired by RPD in 2002.

The main reason Smith became a police officer was his father, who served in the Navy in the late 60s and early 70s before becoming a DeKalb Police Department officer.

“I remember he was a K9 officer and we had the dog living with us, who was just our pet and part of the family,” Smith said. “That I remember, but he started working for the IDOC while my brothers and sister were kids and he retired from corrections after I think 30 plus years. My mother was a nurse at the same correctional facility. I have just always been around law enforcement and corrections so it just seemed to me the field of work I wanted to be in.” 

Smith met his wife of 25 years in high school and has two adult children now in their 20s. The couple have a 14-year-old miniature schnauzer named Lois and recently said goodbye to their other 16-year-old schnauzer, Lex, who Smith called his “best friend.”

Smith is the oldest of three brothers and a sister. In his off time, he enjoys spending as much time as possible with friends and family, golfing and traveling.

“We have taken numerous vacations together all over the United States but our favorite places to visit are our National Parks,” Smith said. “I think we have visited almost 20 National Parks.” 

Smith has had “numerous” memorable experiences on the job over his 20 years, including a lot of good ones and a lot of “heartbreaking” bad ones. He recalls others that were out of the ordinary.

“I have repaired leaky pipes, investigated footsteps heard in the middle of the night when nobody should be home and the caller thought it was a ghost, I have investigated UFOs being seen floating through the woods of the golf course in town and I have shoveled driveways,” Smith said.

Smith has also seen a Rochelle Police Officer get elected Ogle County Sheriff in Brian VanVickle. He’s spoken to parents about troubles they are having with their children. He’s saved people who have wanted to harm themselves or worse.

“And then I’ve seen them months later in town off-duty and received a big hug from them telling me they appreciate what I did for them and what I had said to them that made them realize how wrong they were for thinking that way,” Smith said.

2022 will be Smith’s last year with RPD, as he will be retiring in a few months. The main thing he wants the community to know about the department is that it has “some of the most professional, kind, respectful and compassionate” police officers.

“What’s even more amazing is that even after the heartbreaking incidents we as police officers have to deal with on a daily basis, they still maintain those four attributes,” Smith said. “I am not saying this just because I work here. I am saying this because I know each and every one of your police officers and they do the best job they can under the circumstances they have in front of them, all the while maintaining the four attributes I mentioned.” 

TRENDING RECIPE VIDEOS