Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose announced that he is retiring from his position at the end of August.
The announcement comes after Ambrose took a leave of absence in late April when he was diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitus, more commonly known as NASH.
That condition required Ambrose to get a liver transplant at the beginning of the summer.
Ambrose, who has served more than three decades in the department, said in a village press release that he aims to focus his energy on his recovery.
“It has been a good run,” he said. “Being chief of the Oak Park Police Department was the achievement of a goal I set when I first put on the uniform more than 34 years ago.
“Choosing to retire was a tough decision. But I know in my heart and head it is time for me to pass the chief’s stars on to a new generation of leadership.”
He succeeded Rick Tanksley in the position in September 2016. LaDon Reynolds has served as acting chief in Ambrose’s absence. Reynolds will continue in the position while a permanent successor is sought.
Ambrose called Oak Park “a one in a million community” and said the outpouring of support when his illness was announced was “overwhelming but incredibly gratifying.”
“The support from the community was just awesome,” he said. “It is this level of citizen engagement and willingness to get involved that has made my career here so rewarding.
“All I ever wanted was a job where I could make a difference and help people. Working here proved to be that and more. I don’t think I will ever be able to adequately express my thanks to the community for giving me the opportunity to serve.”
He said his proudest achievement at the department was raising awareness about the need to improve understanding of mental health issues in Oak Park and beyond.
“I have always believed that if you treat people with dignity and respect they will do the same to you,” Ambrose said. “I strived to instill this simple notion in the mindset of our police officers. I truly believe I succeeded and the community is better for it.”
Ambrose joined the department in 1984 and rose through the ranks to become deputy chief in 2005. He became Oak Park’s 12th chief of police, following Tanksley’s retirement.