Already the highest-ranking female officer in the Oak Park Police Department’s history, Deputy Chief Shatonya Johnson’s star continues to rise. The 22-year veteran of the department has been named interim police chief by Village Manager Kevin Jackson.
“I’m excited to continue to blaze the trail for other female officers and the department as a whole,” Johnson said.
Her appointment was announced April 14, one day before the retirement of Chief LaDon Reynolds, who awaits potential Senate confirmation of his nomination for U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois. The village of Oak Park is launching a nationwide search to find a permanent replacement for Reynolds. Johnson confirmed she plans to apply for the position.
“I’m very honored to be considered for this role,” she said.
Village President Vicki Scaman told Wednesday Journal she was pleased with Johnson’s appointment and that she looks forward to working with the interim chief. Scaman also praised the former chief for encouraging the professional growth of those who worked under him.
“Chief Reynolds has prepared his entire command staff for leadership and I appreciate them all. I have no doubt they will work together with Village Manager Jackson to engage residents, so that the future of community safety in Oak Park will be a partnership endeavor where we all feel safe and respected,” Scaman said.
For her part, Johnson also is eager to work with Jackson, who only recently started as village manager of Oak Park.
“I look forward to working under his leadership [and] collaborating with him to make sure that we have excellent public service,” Johnson said. “I can’t emphasize that enough.”
Since her appointment was announced, Johnson shared she has received an influx of supportive emails and social media comments from members of the community for which she expressed gratitude.
The interim chief began her career with the Oak Park police in September 2000 as a patrol officer. In the time since, she has served as a neighborhood resource officer, juvenile specialist, detective, sergeant of internal affairs and commander. She became the department’s first ever female deputy chief in 2020. At the time of her promotion to deputy chief, Reynolds called Johnson “one of the finest officers I have worked with during my law enforcement career.”
She is a graduate of the Public Safety Staff and Command School at Northwestern University and Senior Management Institute of Police in Boston. She holds master’s degree in organizational behavior and organization development from Benedictine University and a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration from Western Illinois University.
Johnson is one of the police department’s two deputy chiefs. She oversees field services, while Deputy Chief Joseph Moran supervises support services. Moran was promoted to deputy chief in 2019.
The police department is currently undergoing an independent review of its operations and policies by consulting firm BerryDunn. The firm’s final report is expected to be completed by late August. In the meantime, the interim chief has a clear objective for the police department.
“Right now, it’s just to make sure that we continue to provide excellent public service to our community.”