Baird Recognized as Waubonsee “Fab 40” Alumnus
Sugar Grove — It is with good reason that the professions of those who protect and serve society are among the most revered. Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird has spent his career in this capacity. Waubonsee Community College is pleased to honor Baird as a Waubonsee “Fabulous 40” alumnus for his selfless service to the community.
As part of the college’s yearlong 40th anniversary celebration, Waubonsee is honoring 40 alumni and students who embody the mission, vision and values of the college. These individuals represent the diversity of Waubonsee’s students and the college district, as well as the diversity of the college’s mission as a comprehensive community college.
A longtime resident of Oswego, Baird knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in criminal justice. As a 15 year old with unusual foresight, he even had a career plan mapped out that would begin with the Kendall County Sheriff’s Department before moving on to his hometown Oswego Police Department — which is exactly how his career progressed.
Baird came to Waubonsee looking to start on his career path. He studied criminal justice, finding mentors in faculty members Bob May and Neal Lippold.
“Waubonsee provided a really solid foundation,” he said. “It enabled me to get specialized education, start my career and start my family. I found that at Waubonsee people want to help you to succeed, to make your dreams a reality.”
Like many Waubonsee students past and present, Baird worked several part-time jobs while a student and spent many long hours in the library studying.
“I was able to fit my classes into my schedule and still support myself,” Baird said. “Waubonsee provided me with the discipline and the tools I needed to move forward.”
Earning his associate degree in criminal justice at Waubonsee, Baird began his career with the Kendall County Sheriff’s Department following his graduation. He later moved to the Oswego Police Department. In the intervening years, Baird has earned his bachelor’s degree from Aurora University and his master’s degree from Western Illinois University. He has also continued his education by earning a number of certifications from organizations including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, where he became a Certified Police Chief, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) National Academy, where he completed management and leadership classes.
Baird is the epitome of a decorated police officer. He was the 1997 Kendall County Officer of the Year, the 2006 Governor’s Medal of Honor Award Winner, and has received numerous life-saving awards and other commendations. Notably, Baird, while off-duty, and another officer rescued two boys who had fallen through ice into a pond — with Baird ending up in the water himself in order to complete the rescue.
As police chief, Baird now works in a more administrative capacity to improve and protect a growing community. He has helped build the police department into a nationally accredited department in the process — receiving accreditation in November 2005.
“I have a great staff, and we have great team work in the department,” he said.
Baird and his wife, Tina, who works at Rush-Copley Medical Center and is also a graduate of Waubonsee, have one son, Bobby, who is a junior at Oswego High School.