New North Chicago Police Chief aims to connect with youths

Above, Richard Wilson, the new police chief of North Chicago at his swearing in. Mayor Leon Rockingham is right.

City of North Chicago photo

by Long Hwa-shu

North Chicago’s new police chief vowed to build a bridge between his department and the youths in the community.

“Young people are our future. We want to build a bridge and connect with them,” said Chief Richard Wilson who heads a department of 54 police officers.

“I’m excited. We’re going to move forward with our commitment,” he told theYoujournal on Friday, fresh on his job since being sworn in earlier this week.

Wilson, 58, a 23-year veteran of the department has served as deputy chief for the past two years. He replaces former chief James Jackson who resigned because he did not meet the city’s residency requirements.

As part of a program to connect with the city’s youths, he said his officers will play ball with them after school and answer any questions they may have.

“We want to close the barrier between the police and the young people in our community so that we can communicate and understand each other better,” he said.

Mayor Leon Rockingham lauded Wilson for his leadership shown in his years with the department. “He not only brings years of experience but he is an excellent leader and role model for all of our officers and the entire community,” he said.

“I’m confident he is going to do a fine job and move forward by making a positive change in the department,” he added.

Wilson said his department will hire six new officers in July, bringing the force to 60 officers. It currently has three female officers.

Born in Chicago, Wilson attended Farragut High School there. He served in the U.S. Army for 25 years, retiring in 2002 as first sergeant. He has attended the College of Lake County, taking law enforcement courses. He also attended seminars at Northwestern University.

Wilson and his wife Lynnette have three sons and three daughters, ranging in ages 17-37. His wife works at Abbvie Inc., formerly part of Abbott Laboratories.

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