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Interim chief Whowell sworn in as Plano's new police chief

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Jonathan Whowell (right) is sworn in as Plano's new police chief by City Attorney Tom Grant.[]

Jonathan Whowell was sworn in Monday night as the new Plano police chief.

Whowell, who had been serving as interim chief since July 1, took the oath to officially become chief at Monday's City Council meeting in front of more than 80 people. He replaced Steve Eaves, who retired from the chief position on July 1 of last year.

The well-wishers who packed the council chambers included Whowell's family, fellow law enforcement officers from departments throughout the area and many of his officers, who were able to leave the city in the hands of the Kendall County Sheriff's Office while at the ceremony.

Two of Whowell's brothers, Andrew and Joey, who had become police officers before him also were in the audience to see their younger brother take the oath to be chief.

Whowell said he joined the Plano Police Department 19 years ago after admiring his oldest brother Andrew, who became an officer with the Arlington Heights Police Department, and their middle brother Joey, who was an officer with the Prospect Heights Department.

Andrew, now celebrating nearly 30 years with Arlington Heights, holds the rank of deputy chief, which was the highest of the three until Monday night when Jonathan became Plano chief. Now that the younger brother outranks him, Andrew said he has to listen to Jonathan as the leader in the family of police officers.

Joey, the middle brother, had to give up police work with the Prospect Heights Department after several years because of a physical problem.

Whowell was raised in Chicago, where he was working as a carpenter, but moved to this area when his wife, Wendy, took a teaching job with the Oswego School District. He said seeing his brothers as police officers gave him the bug to join a department. He said he wanted to join his brother Andrew, but that department would not allow members of the same family to serve on the department. He learned of an opening with Plano and applied, never dreaming, he said, of ever becoming Plano's Top Cop.

He was promoted to sergeant in 2004, lieutenant in 2008 and interim chief on July 1.

Andrew Whowell said Jonathan has the perfect temperament to be a police officer. He is easygoing, always smiling and rarely lets anything bother him.

"I am very proud of my brother. He's been very passionate about this community," he said.

"I never thought I'd be a chief of police. I was just thankful to be in law enforcement," Jonathan Whowell said. "I love having the opportunity to serve the citizens of Plano. This is a great community and this is a great job."

Along with the new title, he also received a raise, going from $89,000 to $94,103 plus the usual benefits of working for the city.

Whowell said he was close to having his full staff of 20 officers, but one of the three now at the Police Academy did not pass the physical requirements, so they will be hiring a replacement in April for this person.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, council members took a short break so they could enjoy a huge cake that was cut and served by city officials. The council chambers then returned to normal with its usual small audience of spectators and city employees.