River Forest’s new police chief, Frank Limon, was considered a long shot for the Chicago police superintendent’s job last year. Though he wasn’t selected, he was considered a go-to guy in the department, a cop as well acquainted with the management suites of the Chicago Police Department as the toughest streets of Chicago.

For the past three years, Limon, 54, ran the Organized Crime Division (OCD) of the Chicago Police Department, where he was responsible for directing the city’s efforts against street gangs and the gun violence and drug traffic they foment. Limon supervised 600 sworn and civilian personnel assigned to the Narcotics and Gang Investigation Section, the Gang Intelligence Section, Vice Control and the Assets Forfeiture Unit.

As OCD chief, Limon was also responsible for working closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Cook County State’s Attorney and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Wide range of policing experience

Limon, who is bi-lingual (Spanish), holds a bachelor of arts degree from Xavier University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology. The south side Chicago resident, who celebrated his 30th anniversary as an active duty police officer last November, has served as a patrol and tactical officer, detective, and patrol sergeant. In 1999 he was promoted to commander of the 13th District, then assistant Deputy Supt. of Operational Services in Dec., 2001.

He has also served as assistant deputy superintendent of the Chicago Policing Strategy office, or CAPS, which is responsible for networking with the community and academia to utilize technology for community outreach programs. Limon received the Superintendent’s Award of Merit for authoring the training manual for newly appointed deputy superintendents and commanders.

In January, Limon was assigned as the interim deputy superintendent of the Bureau of Crime Strategy and Accountability, a post he held while continuing to run the Organized Crime Division.

River Forest Police Committee Chairman Steve Hoke said he was both relieved and satisfied with Limon’s hire.

“The police committee is extremely pleased we found someone with such an estimable resume, who will be a regional asset in developing innovative preventive crime strategies and crisis management.”

Led major drug bust

Limon put the capstone on his Chicago career in May with the culmination of Operation Capitol Hill, a joint investigation by the Chicago Police Department’s Organized Crime Division, the Narcotics and Gang Intelligence Section, the Asset Forfeiture Section and the Cook County State’s Attorney, which culminated in the arrest of 55 gang members, including top members of the Four Corner Hustlers gang.

Limon’s success with the sophisticated operation was notable in that it marked the first time Chicago police ever shut down such a large drug conspiracy without the cooperation and assistance of federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and DEA, which previously took the lead in previous massive busts in 2004, 2005 and 2007 in the Austin neighborhood.

The 18-month surveillance operation targeted the violent drug and enforcement operation of Four Corner Hustler gang leader Shawn “Shakey” Betts. Betts, 41, was paroled from prison in 2006, around which time, Chicago police say, the West Side experienced a spike in gang-related violence.

City gang crimes officials say Betts’ faction of the Four Corner Hustlers, called the Body Snatchers, is the enforcement arm of the main gang, and was responsible for many of the shootings and murders on the West Side in recent years. They expressed hope at the time that by largely dismantling Betts’ operation, some level of peace may be restored to the Austin neighborhood.

Such peace could extend into neighboring Oak Park, where police have indicated that the September 2007 murder of street gang member Clarence Fambro on Division Street near Cuyler Avenue was directly related to gang drug turf warfare, as were several other 2007 shootings.

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