Oak Park may soon be in need of not only a new village manager but a new police chief as well. Chief LaDon Reynolds is in line to become U.S. Marshal of the Northern District of Illinois.
“It’s a distinguished honor to even be thought of but at this time, my focus continues to be the with Oak Park Police Department and the citizens of Oak Park,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds’ nomination was given to the Biden administration by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), majority whip, and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), according to a June 23 press release from Durbin’s office. Wednesday Journal has reached out to the offices of Durbin and Duckworth, for comment.
As it is just the beginning of the process, Reynolds did not have much to share regarding the nomination. He is also unclear as to how long the process will take.
Given Reynolds’ law enforcement experience, Village President Vicki Scaman told Wednesday Journal she wasn’t surprised that he is up for U.S. Marshal.
“We would definitely miss him if that opportunity comes to fruition,” Scaman said.
She said she has not yet had a chance to discuss the possibility of Reynolds leaving with village staff nor did she know whether the recommendation was merely a formality necessary to carry out before officially naming Reynolds U.S Marshal.
“It is my understanding that it is not a done deal,” Scaman said.
Regardless, the village president called the opportunity “amazing” and “an honor.”
The United States Marshal Service is the United States’ oldest federal law enforcement agency, formed during the presidency of George Washington through the Judiciary Act of 1789. Some of the duties required of U.S. Marshals include protection for the federal judiciary, as well as operating the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Agency. U.S. Marshals are also tasked with executing federal arrest warrants, among other responsibilities.
Reynolds has served on the Oak Park police force since 1994. After rising through the ranks of sergeant, commander, deputy chief and even interim chief, he became chief in 2018. He also serves on the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, as well as the Illinois Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes. Reynolds has also taught criminal justice classes as an adjunct professor at Triton College and MacCormac College.
Should he be named U.S. Marshal, that would leave the village without a police chief or soon a village manager. Village Manager Cara Pavlicek will depart in August to assume the role of village manager of Northbrook. The village board only has the power to hire or remove the village manager. It does not have the power to name a new police chief. That responsibility belongs to the village manager. However, the village board and the community will have the opportunity to provide input into the decision, according to Scaman.
Reynolds is one of several consecutive Oak Park police officers to become chief of the department. Scaman would like to see that trend continue should Reynolds step down as chief.
“Do I doubt that there isn’t someone in our own department that is ready for the leadership? No, I would not doubt that at all,” she said.
Scaman also said she would be very supportive of having a female law enforcement official named police chief. Shatonya Johnson currently serves as one of the department’s two deputy chiefs.
“I’m a big fan of women leadership,” Scaman said.
Reynolds’ name was among four names sent to Biden by Durbin and Duckworth for consideration of three U.S Marshal positions in the northern district, central district and southern district of Illinois. Durbin and Duckworth recommended that former Bloomington police chief Brendan Heffner continue serving as U.S. Marshal of the central district, a role he’s held since 2018. For the southern district, Durbin and Duckworth put forth Air Force veteran Brad Maxwell, who was appointed marshal of the district in 2018, and Deputy U.S. Marshal David Davis.
Durbin and Duckworth created three screening committees comprised of members of the Illinois legal and law enforcement communities to review potential candidates, whose professional records and qualifications were evaluated by the committees. The committees also conducted interviews with candidates and contacted references. The two senators interviewed the finalists, as well as reviewed their records and consulted with each other to determine whose names to send to the president.
Biden will submit nominations to the U.S. Senate. Each nomination will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Durbin chairs. Following committee approval of each nomination, the U.S. Senate will vote on the nominee.