RPD Deputy Chief and longtime detective Inman retires after 21 years
‘I gave everything I had to all of my cases. In the end, it was worth it’
ROCHELLE — Upon his retirement from the Rochelle Police Department, Deputy Chief Terry Inman removed a painting from his office wall.
Inman spent over 21 years with the department, including serving as a detective from 2004-2022. The painting represents something he’s most proud of in his time with RPD.
“It was given to me by a victim of child abuse,” Inman said. “I think probably the one thing I'm most proud of is the ability to connect with the children and walk them through the whole legal system, hold the suspects accountable, and help the children get to a place where they can move forward and past what they went through. That's how I got that painting. Up until this week, it's been hanging on my wall the whole time.”
After high school, Inman joined the Navy and served two years of active duty and continued his service in the reserves for an additional eight years. He attended and graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration and later joined RPD as a patrol officer in 2001. After serving in investigations from 2004-2022, he was promoted to deputy chief in 2022.
In his time with RPD, Inman served on the ILEAS Mobile Force, the Illinois Child Death Review Committee and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. He was recognized at the March 27 Rochelle City Council meeting by city officials ahead of his retirement. Inman’s family, friends and co-workers attended the meeting, including recently-retired RPD Chief Eric Higby.
“He was never anything but the ultimate consummate professional,” Higby said. “He only ever had the department's, city's and citizens' best interests at heart. I can't think of a harder worker that I've ever worked with. He was the first one there and always the last one to leave. That's one of the highest compliments I can pay him. I know he's going to do very well and I hope he enjoys retirement with his family. I wish him nothing but the best and thank him for his service.”
Inman’s plans for his retirement include moving his family to Florida, where he’s found a job opportunity that will see him put his investigative skills to use in the corporate sector.
In addition to the three special task forces, Inman obtained a master’s degree in biosecurity and disaster preparedness and was named the city’s emergency management coordinator in 2013. Since then, he has worked with numerous local organizations to implement emergency response plans and to enhance the levels of preparedness for a local incident. Inman was a driving force behind multiple full-scale, multi-agency disaster exercises.
Inman called his emergency management work “rewarding,” and worked with Lee County and Ogle County emergency management organizations in 2013 on a tornado disaster exercise for the area from Dixon to Rochelle that took 18 months and hundreds of people to put together.
“And then a year and a half later, we had the real thing with the EF-4 tornado outside of town,” Inman said. “When the tornado hit, I was out in the Hickory Ridge area helping and going door to door making sure everyone was OK and then I came back and served as a coordinator for the city on different needs that area had.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Inman worked at the local emergency operations center as a liaison for the city and worked with Ogle County and the region and coordinated getting food, medicine and more to people who were unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19.
While spending 18 years in investigations, Inman was witness to a lot of changes in technology and types of cases, but he said he didn’t really notice the scale of the change until he reflected on that part of his career.
“It was rewarding because I got a lot of opportunities to participate in that change,” Inman said. “On the ICAC Task Force, I got brought into that as a means to help the Attorney General's Office with the volume of cases they got. I received training in computer forensics, so I could do that and find evidence and that's what my initial role with the ICAC Task Force was. That opens up a whole different world to see how these things work, how computers work and how data is stored and manipulated. That was a very interesting part of the career to learn from."
Inman recalled unique cases as a detective, including investigating a Nigerian check scam that revealed the scammer to be local, when those calls usually originate from Nigeria and offenders aren’t typically caught. He also worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to identify individuals who came to Rochelle for one reason, and while here they abused children and then returned to LA. The offenders were identified and Inman worked with the LAPD to bring them back and arrest them.
Near the end of his RPD tenure, Inman and the department worked recently to investigate the death of a 28-year-old Rochelle woman that resulted in murder charges for a Palatine man announced on March 1. Inman took on a new role in that investigation, as a supervisor and mentor rather than a detective.
“When you're in a fairly in-depth investigation, you tend to focus on all the different steps you have to take, especially if you have a lot of leads you want to get to right away,” Inman said. “You really do stop thinking about eating and sleeping sometimes. Because you're focused and your drive is to get a warrant and arrest the offender. In this case, my role was more watching them and making sure they were remembering to take care of themselves and balancing that with following up on leads.
Inman is proud of the reputation he built in the community and Ogle County court system as a law enforcement officer and helping victims get from what they went through to a resolution and eventually, a path to a future.
“I worked hard and I gave everything I had to all of my cases, sometimes digging a little further than most,” Inman said. “In the end, it was worth it."