First posted 12/15/2008 3:08 p.m.
A veteran Chicago cop and emergency dispatch center manager has been named the new executive director of the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center.
Henry F. Gralak is the former director of police and fire emergency communications for the City of Elgin. The West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center, known as WesComm, handles call-taking and emergency dispatching of police and fire personnel for 911 calls from residents in Elmwood Park, Oak Park and River Forest.
Gralak, who will take over at WesComm on Monday, Jan. 5, is a resident of the Sauganash neighborhood in Chicago and a 27-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, retiring as a sergeant. He was selected from two finalists by Elmwood Park Village Manager John “Jay” Dalicandro, Oak Park Village Manager Tom Barwin and River Forest Village Administrator Steven V. Gutierrez, who comprise the board of directors for the dispatch center.
In a joint statement announcing Gralak’s selection, Gutierrez, Barwin and Dalicandro said, Gralak’s “qualifications and experience make him an ideal match for the duties of executive director of the high-tech communications operation that is vital to public safety in our communities.”
“I think he’ll be a good fit for WesComm,” added Dalicandro, who serves as the chair of the board of directors, in a phone interview. “He’ll be hands on.”
River Forest Trustee Steve Hoke, who chairs the River Forest board’s police committee, which has been critical of WesComm management in the past, said he’s hopeful Gralak proves to be a good personnel manager in addition to being technically proficient.
“Change was needed. The issue isn’t technology,” said Hoke. “His success will be determined by his abilities to manage human capital. I wish him luck.”
Since 2006, Gralak managed a slightly smaller staff than WesComm’s. He spent the last seven years on the Chicago police force as manager of computer operations support staff. He has an extensive background in technology services and is a graduate of Northwestern University.