New Dupo police chief appointed

New Dupo Police Chief Kevin Smith.

Following an executive session, the Dupo Village Board on Monday appointed Kevin Smith as police chief.

The board voted unanimously in favor of Smith’s appointment after trustee Joe Basinski said he was no longer concerned with the decision.

“I had some concerns, but I think they’ve been sufficiently addressed by board members,” he said.

Smith was appointed interim chief during the board’s May 18 meeting. The board also brought former police chief Doug Keys’ tenure of 31 years to an end at that meeting, upon accepting his retirement. He could not be reached for comment.

Smith is a 2003 Dupo High School graduate. In 2006, he began his career in law enforcement as a Dupo police officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2012.

Smith coordinates Dupo’s annual Shop with a Cop program, in which the department raises money to buy Christmas gifts for needy children.

“I think I’m ready for it,” Smith said of jumping into the new role. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m excited to move the department in a different direction.”

Smith did not give examples of how he would change the department’s direction, but said police would be “more proactive” and interact more with the community. The board also voted to move police officer Bradley Veteto from part-time to full-time at its May meeting.

In other news from Monday’s meeting, Linda Wheatley of the Hilltoppers Swim Club turned to the board for help after water leaking from the main line used to fill the pool led to a $1,000 bill for the month of April.

A letter to the village states the meter that would have allowed someone to notice a problem is a considerable distance from the shutoff valve. However, the water was shut off and the break was repaired following discovery of the leak, the letter states.

At that time, the damage was already done and the total amount accrued from the leak is $4,000, which Wheatley said the swim team cannot afford to pay. The team is asking the village for some leeway.

“We sincerely hope that this administration will consider a one-time helping hand to assist a facility that has seen many generations of Dupo families grow,” reads the letter.

Wheatley said the swim team cannot cover the added expense because revenues come from registration and must last the entire season with expenses such as taxes, insurance and electrical costs. Some of the funds remaining at the end of the season also help get the following season started, she said.

“We’ll set up a time to get together with you and see what we can do,” Dupo Mayor Jerry Wilson told Wheatley.
Hilltoppers head coach Salle Plunkett told the Republic-Times in an email that the team is looking into alternatives if the village is unable to provide assistance.

“We will fund-raise like crazy, but we are not closing,” she said.

Hilltoppers was founded more than 50 years ago. Last season, about 120 kids signed up to be on the team, with about 100 kids registered for the current season. Practice has begun and registration is still open.

Additionally, the local daycares bring kids to the pool at a reduced rate, Wheatley said.

“We draw kids from everywhere,” she said, explaining that kids from Freeburg, Columbia and other communities join the team. “It’s such a great facility.”

For more information, to register for the team or to donate to Hilltoppers, call Plunkett at 618-799-8001.

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