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Chief of Police

Forest Preserves of Cook County


Contact Information


Forest Preserves of Cook County
536 N. Harlem Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305

Position Information

Application Deadline:

  • 07/16/21
  • @ 5:00 PM


  • Up to $132,000 annually DOE/DOQ, plus an assigned vehicle

    The Forest Preserves of Cook County offers a competitive benefit program.


  • 110

Position Details

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is seeking applicants for Chief of Police.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is seeking a forward-thinking leader to manage and oversee the activities of the Forest Preserves Department of Law Enforcement. The department includes 130 FTE personnel, including six civilian staff, 94 officers, 16 sergeants and a command team who protect one of the largest and busiest forest preserve districts in the United States.

The selected Chief will have broad experience in public safety and conservation, the ability to manage and motivate a large and diverse workforce, a proven track record for developing and implementing strategic priorities, and a commitment to equity and procedural justice.

About the Forest Preserves of Cook County:

Cook County is the second most populous county in the United States and includes the City of Chicago. Within this diverse urban metropolis, the Forest Preserves of Cook County protects 70,000 acres of forests, prairies, wetlands, woodlands and other natural areas including rare habitats that offer plant and animal diversity on par with the rainforests of the world. Thanks to dedicated restoration and conservation efforts, native plants and wildlife—including North American river otters, blue spotted salamanders, native orchids, and birds such as bald eagles and bobolinks—continue to return to or flourish in the preserves. Each year, the Forest Preserves receives an estimated 62 million visits, as people use these lands and facilities to enjoy nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, canoe, or simply relax. Facilities located in the preserves include nature centers, boat rentals, equestrian stables, golf courses and driving ranges, and aquatic centers. Among the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County are the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden, two world-class institutions located on the district's land.

About the Forest Preserves Police:

Forest Preserves police officers perform a dual role which includes the conventional duties of a police officer and the duties performed by conservation officers. Forest Preserves officers are state certified and receive specialized training in conservation and ecology from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. They are ambassadors to the public, perform conservation roles like checking for fishing licenses, and help protect habitat and wildlife--including rare and endangered species. Forest Preserves police officers are deployed on three shifts a day, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In addition to traditional patrols in marked police vehicles, Forest Preserves officers conduct high-visibility patrols in the preserves, on and off the trails, on foot, bicycle, boat, ATV and through other methods.

Model Policing Initiative and Strategic Priorities:

The Forest Preserves of Cook County recognizes that the deep racial and ethnic inequities that exist today are a direct result of structural racism which has evolved and persisted throughout our country's history. We are committed to applying a racial equity lens to future investments, policies and operations in order to meet the Preserves' nature conservation mission in the most equitable way.

The Forest Preserves Police Department is well positioned to adopt, implement and embrace recommendations from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing and other best practices to respect, serve, and protect the people of Cook County. In the past decade, there have been no officer involved shootings and no excessive use of force cases involving Forest Preserves police officers. Traffic stop data indicates there is not a problem with racial profiling, and Forest Preserves officers consistently earn high marks in the district's annual customer service survey.

In 2020, the Forest Preserves proactively launched a model policing initiative to:

  • maintain and strengthen police and community relations
  • create a work culture that is inclusive and equitable to all people
  • support a diverse police force through recruitment, retention and promotion

A number of actions are now underway to achieve these goals. The district has trained all members of the department on implicit bias and adopted Ten Shared Principles developed by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois NAACP to guide the relationship between law enforcement and the community. We are rolling out body worn cameras for all officers, and we are in the process of updating all policies and procedures to reflect best practices related to use of force and de-escalation.

We are also updating the department's strategic plan to focus on six priorities over the next five years. These include:

  1. Build trust and legitimacy with the community.
  2. Develop clear and comprehensive policies.
  3. Promote positive organizational change and better communication across ranks.
  4. Ensure officers have the technology, tools and equipment they need to do their jobs and to keep safe.
  5. Provide training and opportunities for advancement to all personnel throughout their careers.
  6. Develop strategies to recruit officers who can succeed and grow at the Forest Preserves.


A full job description is presented on pages 4 and 5.

Application Process and Recruitment Schedule:

To be considered, please submit your cover letter, resume, and a list of six professional references (who will not be contacted in the early stages of the recruitment) by 5 p.m. on July 16, 2021 to:

Resumes should reflect years and months of positions held, as well as the size of the previous program or department you have managed or administered.

Resumes will be screened based on the criteria outlined in this brochure. Candidates with the most relevant qualifications will be invited to interview. The selected candidate will be subjected to an extensive reference and background check.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value our employees and the different talents, expertise and viewpoints that each brings to the table. We believe a robust exchange of ideas results in better decision-making and we commit to providing a constructive, safe and positive work atmosphere that promotes mutual respect and empowers individuals to thrive in their jobs.

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