ROCKTON—After nearly 28 years with the Rockton Police Department, Matt Hollinger has been promoted to chief of police.

Former Rockton Deputy Chief Hollinger was promoted to chief of police on June 7. This follows the retirement of former Police Chief Stephen Dickson.

Dickson was chief of police for 20 years and was with the department since 1995.

“Former Chief Stephen Dickson and I were hired with the Rockton Police Department at about the same time,” Hollinger noted. “Chief Dickson was hired as a patrol sergeant and I had many opportunities to work with him on patrol. Chief Dickson also had a background in investigations, which is what interested me the most.”

Hollinger felt like Dickson was a major help and mentor throughout his time at the Rockton department.

“I certainly appreciated the time and effort that Chief Dickson put forth to help me move forward with investigating some very interesting cases at the beginning of my career,” Hollinger said “Throughout the years, Chief Dickson and I worked together on many projects and developed a good working relationship and friendship.”

Hollinger was promoted to deputy police chief in Rockton 10 years ago and worked very closely with the now retired chief.

Hollinger himself was inspired at an early age to be a police officer.

“While in high school, I was involved in Police Explorers and was fortunate to have completed an internship with the Mendota (Illinois) Police,” Hollinger said. “I started doing ride-alongs with the local police. I was hooked after I was able to be involved in some investigations and a high speed pursuit.”

Shortly after high school he moved on to higher education and gained valuable experience before starting his career.

“I attended Illinois Valley Community College for Criminal Justice Studies for two years,” Holligner noted. “I was anxious to move on to the workforce and began building my skills for law enforcement by becoming a loss prevention representative at numerous retail businesses in the Rockford and Freeport area.”

Hollinger accepted an entry position with the Rockton Police Department after that.

“I was introduced to the Rockton Police Department through a friend and was hired at 22 years old,” Hollinger said. “Throughout my career, I was a patrol officer, assigned as an investigator with the Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force in Rockford, a patrol sergeant and I’ve served as the deputy chief of police for the past 10 years. This June, I will be entering my 28th year of law enforcement. “

Hollinger is looking to the future and ways he can offer his knowledge and skills to the department.

“I look forward to serving as chief and I’m excited to continue to move forward with some of the new technology we’ve brought to our department over the past year,” Hollinger said. “We’ve added new in-car cameras with Automatic License Plate Reader capabilities, body worn cameras, a new scheduling platform and we’re currently reviewing a need to add additional cameras and additional license plate technology in our community.”

He strives to make a crime prevention group effort with the community and the department.

“My plan is to involve the community with video and digital image sharing so that we all can be involved in crime prevention,” Hollinger noted.

As of time of writing there is no one projected to take the deputy chief position.

“While I will not be filling the deputy chief position immediately, my goal is to identify those capable officers who are willing and confident to step up into leadership positions as we move forward,” Hollinger said.