The mood was decidedly upbeat and light hearted as members of the Oak Park police department and numerous other village staff filled the Village Hall's council chambers last Friday morning to observe the swearing in ceremony for new deputy chiefs Anthony Ambrose and Carl Leidy. More celebratory than solemn, the occasion marked the end of a nearly half year process.
"This is truly a unique opportunity for the Village of Oak Park to put two outstanding individuals into leadership positions in Oak Park," Village Manager Carl Swenson told the crowd. "These are two outstanding police professionals."
Calling the review and selection process "arduous," but successful, Police Chief Rick Tanksley said he was pleased with his two new deputies, and looked forward to having a full compliment of deputy chiefs.
"This is an important day, but it's just the start of many important days to follow," Tanksley said. Saying that the current period was "a very dynamic time," Tanksley noted that over the rest of this summer senior police and village staff will be involved in the process of selecting one and possibly two new Commanders, as well as conducting a Sergeant's exam prior to filling two or more positions at that rank.
Next Friday the department also begin the process of orienting nine newly graduated police recruits into the department.
Looking around the room, Tanksley then asked "Where's (Deputy Chief Robert) Scianna?" Finding his sole deputy since January 30, Tanksley quipped, "Look at the relief on his face. He hasn't smiled for six months."
Ambrose, a 21 year veteran of the force, thanked Scianna, whom he called "my mentor ? and sometimes my tormentor."
He also had a quip for his boss.
"As everyone knows, we were hired together (in August, 1984)," Ambrose said of Tanksley. "And I've been chasing him ever since."
"And your not gonna catch me," replied Tanksley, chuckling.