Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley has earned designation as a certified police chief by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. The certification, announced Dec. 17 by the association, signifies he has met the highest standards of competency and conduct as a police chief.

Tanksley is among 69 police chiefs on this list, which includes Thomas Weitzel of Riverside and F. Thomas Braglia of Elmwood Park. Tanksley will receive his certificate at the village board meeting on Jan. 5 from La Grange Police Chief Michael Holub, who was chairman of the committee that created the certification program.

Village Manager Tom Barwin called Tanksley’s achievement “a proud moment for the Oak Park police department and the community.
“While those of us who have worked with the chief have long recognized his skills and expertise, this certification publicly proclaims the breadth and depth of his abilities to a much wider audience, including his peers,” Barwin said.

The certification program recognizes law enforcement professionals who excel in all aspects of being a police chief. To maintain the certification, police chiefs must meet ongoing requirements and apply for recertification every five years.

Tanksley called the process tough, but rewarding, and one that made him a better police officer.

“It required me to examine everything I do as a police chief and how I do it,” he said. “Actually earning certification has given me a sense of accomplishment and pride, not only for myself but for the officers who make it possible for me to be the chief of such a great organization in such a great community.”
Tanksley successfully completed a strenuous three-step process to earn the recognition. Beyond showing command of law enforcement as an executive, a solid educational background and active participation in professional and community groups, he had to take a written exam on management concepts, case law and budgeting principles.

Tanksley said the final hurdle-facing a peer panel of three active Illinois police chiefs-was the toughest. The panel’s questions tested his public speaking ability, community relations skills and ethics. His presence of mind and poise were also put to the test.

“You have to think on your feet,” Tanksley said. “And always, inevitably, after an oral, you think of all the things you should have said.”

He said he expects the process, which is strictly voluntary at present, becomes mandatory some day. “Eventually, all police chiefs will have to demonstrate their competencies,” he said. “The process further legitimizes both the position and the individual.”

Join the discussion on social media!