Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel announced that he is stepping down from his post as chairman of the West Suburban Enhanced Drug/Gang Enforcement (WEDGE) task force, effective April 3.
Weitzel has led the special task force, which includes officers from Riverside, North Riverside, Brookfield, Berwyn, Forest Park, Oak Park, Rivers Forest and Elmwood Park, since April 2010.
The task force’s new chairman is River Forest Police Chief James O’Shea, who was sworn in as River Forest’s chief in January. He formerly was the department’s deputy chief.
“I have personally known Jim almost my whole career, and he is a true professional and has the leadership capabilities to lead the WEDGE task force to new initiatives throughout the years to come,” Weitzel said in a press release.
WEDGE was the brainchild of its first chairman, former Berwyn Police Chief William Kushner, who is now the police chief in Des Plaines. The task force formed in 2006.
In 2017, officers assigned to special WEDGE patrols made 36 felony and 33 misdemeanor arrests, including the apprehension of Rolando Walker, who is suspected of stabbing to death his girlfriend, a Berwyn resident, at her residence.