St. Anne police chief joins BPD as patrolman
Before returning a call from the Daily Journal on Tuesday, St. Anne Police Chief Jason Franc asked for Bourbonnais Deputy Chief Dave Anderson’s permission.
It was an odd moment for Franc, who has been St. Anne’s chief for the past three years. But, he already is in line with his new employer’s chain of command.
Franc on Monday will begin his new job as a patrolman for the Bourbonnais Police Department. Former Aroma Park Police Chief Henry David will serve as interim chief of St. Anne until a permanent chief is appointed.
“I had to remind myself to ask for permission to speak to the media,” Franc said with a laugh during a Tuesday phone call with the Daily Journal. “I’m in a different position. I’m going to be a patrolman.”
Franc began his law enforcement career with the Momence Police Department in 2004. The 1999 Momence High School graduate credited Teresa Lanie, of the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office, for interesting him in law enforcement during a career fair his freshman year of high school.
“It’s something I always felt I wanted to do,” Franc said. “When Teresa Lanie came to that career fair, it stuck with me. It’s not monotonous. You get in a routine at times, but no call is ever the same.”
Franc joined the St. Anne Police Department as a patrolman six years ago and has been chief for the past three. He oversaw two full-time and seven part-time officers at full force.
However, he doesn’t envision his new role with Bourbonnais being much different than when he was chief of St. Anne.
“I think it’s going to be similar in that I wasn’t an administrative chief in St. Anne. I was a working chief,” Franc said. “I responded to calls and filed reports. I never lost that street sense.”
Franc, 37, was drawn to Bourbonnais for the chance to spend more time with his family, pursue long-term goals and have more benefits.
“I’m still fairly young in law enforcement age,” he said. “I’m at a junction in my life where I have to look at the longevity. I enjoy the position I’ve had at St. Anne, but it’s an appointed position. You never know if you are going to be in this position in four or eight years from now.”
Bourbonnais stuck out to Franc because of its community policing and call volume. He actually was the first policeman in Kankakee County to start the lip sync challenge, performing Katy Perry’s “Firework” before the Fourth of July. He challenged other police departments in the county, and the BPD took on that challenge.
In Franc, the BPD saw a familiar, veteran officer. Franc’s hiring will put the department at a full force of 25 officers once he completes a three-week training.
“He has a lot of experience. We’re thinking from the admin side that we can relate to him,” Anderson said. “On the experienced side, it’s hard to get good employees who want to come work for you. He’s excited to be a part of the Bourbonnais Police Department.”
At the same time, Franc was thankful to have been able to fulfill a childhood dream near his hometown. He and his wife, Annie, live in Momence with their four sons and young nephew.
“In a small town, you are not just an officer. You’re a person. You get to know people on a personal level,” Franc said. “I’ve had a great experience in St. Anne. I’ve learned a lot of things and made a lot of connections.
“Now, I am starting over in Bourbonnais. I still have to prove myself to my new department. I welcome the change.”