Rockton Police sergeant retires after 25 years, two more promoted to sergeant
After 25 years of dedicated service to the Rockton Police Department and the Rockton community, Sgt. Dean Camacho has retired; Tuesday, Aug. 16 was his last day. Sgt. Camacho served in the U.S. Marines before starting his career in law enforcement in 1992. Sgt. Camacho has spent 30 years as a police officer, working for the Rockford Park District and Park City Police departments before coming to Rockton in 1997.
Camacho extended his love of the community beyond his profession. He taught Citizens Police Academy classes, making each one memorable, fun and purely educational. He volunteered with the Rockton Police and Fire departments at bike rodeos, and was part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge team for many years. Camacho has co-chaired the Old Settlers Days 5K Run for the Carrie Lynn Center, working alongside his wife Michelle, who serves as the race director.
Honoring all of the years Sgt. Camacho gave to the department and the overall Rockton community, Chief of Police Matt Hollinger presented him with a special plaque during the Rockton Village Administration Committee meeting on Aug. 15.
During the Aug. 16 Village Board meeting, Camacho was in attendance to hand a pair of handcuffs to newly-commissioned police officer Jordan Carrasquillo, who was sworn in by Rockton Village Clerk Christina Stewart. Officer Carrasquillo is starting in the police academy at Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, officers Jason Newell and Ben Heintz were each promoted to sergeant. Both took the oath of office in their new ranks at the Rockton Village Board meeting on July 19. Chief of Police Matt Hollinger opened by saying, “We are making up for other sergeants that have retired; they did a fantastic job.” Hollinger gave a background of Newell and Heintz.
“Jason Newell retired from the Sheriff's Department after 29 years. He was the Sergeant Of Investigations,” Hollinger said.
“When Jason was a new officer and I was a new officer, he worked up in the Rockton area. He is very familiar with our community,” Hollinger said. He also has worked as a drill sergeant.
“Officer Newell's first day in the Rockton Police Department was significant. His hire date was the day of the Chemtool fire. He was well trained in traffic control; that is what he did for most of the day.”
“Sgt. Newell is a tremendous leader who brings a lot of confidence and experience to our department,” Hollinger added.
Sgt. Heintz came from a law enforcement family. He has been with the Rockton Police Department for eight years. Heintz is a field training officer who has also been sent to several firearms classes - he is going to be a range and a rifle instructor. He has had a role as an acting shift commander for several months. Hollinger lauded Heintz for always being a clear, precise communicator.
Newell and Heintz's wives placed pins on their uniforms.
The Rockton Police Department is joining an intergovernmental agreement to form a Major Crash Team to assist member law enforcement agencies in Winnebago County and Boone County, including the Villages of Roscoe, Machesney Park, and Loves Park. They have also entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois State Police with the Village joining the Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force.
With the first day of school on Aug. 16, Officer Penny Cure resumed duties as School Resource Officer at Hononegah Community High School. Cure was welcomed back with open arms as she is well loved, trusted and respected.
Rockton Police serve the community with caring and dedication every day. This can be credited to the leadership of Chief of Police Hollinger and the entire department.