Meet the sergeants: Kevin Collins (top left), Manuel Ruiz, Jr. (top right), Shatonya Johnson (bottom left) and Samantha Deuchler (bottom right).

The Oak Park Police Department has hired a new generation of officers, following a number of promotions, which puts the department at 116 sworn officers.

That means the department is only two officers short of being fully staffed once the new officers are sworn in later this year, according to Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose.

Ambrose said in a telephone interview that within the last few weeks four sergeants – Roger Grivetti, Michael Lepczynski, Thomas Dransoff and Joseph Moran – were promoted to the rank of commander. And four patrol officers – Shatonya Johnson, Samantha Deuchler, Kevin Collins and Manuel Ruiz, Jr. – were promoted to sergeant.

That makes room for seven patrol officers, Ambrose said.

Five new patrol officers were hired and are currently attending Chicago Police Academy, a 14-week training program for new officers. Ambrose said he plans to fill the remaining patrol officer positions in March.

The announcement of the new officers follows the promotion of LaDon Reynolds from commander to deputy chief in September.

Ambrose said having a full management team in place is important because it provides greater support for patrol officers on the street.

“Our goal is to keep as many officers on the street as possible,” Ambrose tells Wednesday Journal.

In addition to the 116 sworn officers, the police department also employs about 35 civilians for the records bureau, parking enforcement and other office-related duties.

“I think it’s important that right now we’ll be short a couple of officers, but when we’re fully staffed it enables us to provide all the services the community needs and deserves,” Ambrose said.

Police department staffing has been on the minds of many Oak Parkers over the last year, in part to an increase in crimes like armed robbery and vehicular hijacking.

The police held a forum late last year to address the rash of carjackings in the village in 2017.


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