WINNETKA – Winnetka’s new police chief is no stranger to the village.
Marc B. Hornstein started working for the Winnetka Police Department as a patrol officer in 1993, immediately making strong connections with the community by serving as a crime prevention officer and Drug Abuse Resistance Education Officer (DARE) with the schools. He worked his way through the ranks, serving in many different capacities, including patrol officer, detective, patrol sergeant, special services sergeant, patrol operation commander and deputy chief, before he stepped in as interim police chief when his predecessor, Patrick Kreis, retired in June 2017.
Hornstein was officially appointed chief of police on April 12.
“I’ve been really, really fortunate to work in so many roles in the department,” Hornstein told DailyNorthShore.
Hornstein found those experiences invaluable, providing him the insight to understand and appreciate every person’s role in the police department regardless of rank. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work in different roles and I think it has given me perspective as an administrator,” he said.
Hornstein realized he wanted to be a police officer when he was only 19 years old, working as a part-time community service officer in Buffalo Grove. “That really got my feet wet and gave me an understanding of what it was like to work in a police department. I found it exciting and wanted to make it a long-term career,” he said.
It was the variety in the job Hornstein found intriguing, noting that everyday offered a new experience. Having spent the past 25 years in the police force, Hornstein still enjoys the work and appreciates the impact he can have on peoples’ lives. “(I appreciate) the ability to make a difference to somebody and let them know that there are people who care, and to make a difficult situation a little less impactful,” he said.
While Hornstein said the police enjoy the trust of the community in Winnetka, it is something he will never take for granted as police chief. In his new role, Hornstein plans to maintain the public’s trust, by continuing to offer the highest level of service in the most professional manner possible. He also plans to build trust with community stakeholders, such as the schools, to reassure them that the police serve as a resource. While the Winnetka Police Department has always conducted training sessions with Winnetka’s schools as well as New Trier High School, it will be holding even more in light of recent national events, Hornstein said.
Hornstein also has some administrative goals for the department that should make their work easier. In partnership with neighboring communities, he plans to transition the police department to the STARCOM-21 communication system within the next few months. The new system is cell based and less costly than the existing system that runs on phone lines, Hornstein said. A site was constructed at Winnetka’s water and electric plant and another site is currently being built in Evanston.
By year-end, Hornstein also plans to implement an e-ticketing and mobile crash report system that should reduce human error and make processing more efficient. He also would like to repurpose the former dispatch center at the Winnetka Police Department — the dispatch center was closed it was consolidated to Glenview — into a new space for the investigations unit.
Even with his sight on many goals for the Winnetka Police Department this year, Hornstein still finds time to follow his favorite baseball team, the White Sox, and play the drums. He also teaches classes at a local community college. “I really enjoy teaching because it allows me to give some advice and influence students in a positive way and clarify some of their goals and how to set them,” he said.
Hornstein is also happy to lead a department in a community where he has spent his entire career. “What I like best about Winnetka are the relationships I have established in the time I have been here. There are so many wonderful people who are thoughtful and appreciative of the efforts of the police department. I think that is partly why it is such a safe community because of the relationships we enjoy mutually,” Hornstein said.