River Grove police chief honored for 40 years of service

River Grove Police Chief Rodger Loni knew something was up when he saw his wife and children in the parking lot prior to Village Board meeting last week.

They usually don’t attend Village Board meetings.

“I saw my wife and kids and the light bulbs went off,” he said.

As the July 17 River Grove Board meeting got underway, he soon understood why his family was in attendance. During the meeting, the River Grove Village Board read an official proclamation honoring Loni for his 40 years of service as a police officer in River Grove.

Loni rose up the ranks of River Grove Police Department. He joined department as an officer in 1974, later becoming a detective, and then to his present position, which he has occupied since 2006. Even with all of his years of experience figuring out the motives of criminals and conducting investigations, he didn’t see this recognition coming.

“I got blindsided here,” he said.

But the Village Board knows how to keep a secret, and Loni received two standing ovations from the board and audience as he shook hands with the Village Board members, his fellow officers and members of the fire department who were in attendance.

“Thank you, everybody,” he said.

Loni could have retired a lot sooner, but he said he had responsibilities.

“I got married late,” he said. “The last [child] is a senior in college; that’s why I’m here. The cost of college keeps me working.”

River Grove Mayor Marilynn May isn’t in a hurry to see him go.

“He’s a wonderful chief and everything is in good hands,” she said. “River Grove is a safe place to be because of Roger Loni.”

After the meeting, he took some time to take it all in, reminiscing on how fast time has gone by.

“It’s a blur when I think of walking in the same door for 40 years — it blows your mind,” he said. “So much has happened in all these years; they just flew by.”

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