Forest Preserve District of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has appointed former Chicago Police Department Captain John J. Roberts to be the District’s new Chief of Police. Roberts will start this position on March 5, 2013. The District’s previous Police Chief, Richard Waszak, retired in late 2012 after ten years in the role.
Roberts retired from the Chicago Police Department at the rank of Captain in 2004, after more than thirty years of service. During this time, he acquired considerable command-level expertise, holding positions in the operational, investigative, technical support and administrative divisions.
Roberts earned a Master’s Degree in Criminal/Social Justice from Lewis University and a doctoral degree from the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago. He taught at both Northwestern University and Lewis University, where he served as the Program Chair of Criminal/Social Justice. Roberts has also served as a public safety consultant and advocate for higher education and continuing professional training for all law enforcement personnel.
“John Roberts’ combination of on-the-ground law enforcement experience and extensive educational background gives him a unique insight into policing,” Preckwinkle said. “I am confident that he will effectively lead our Forest Preserve District Police Department and enhance the safety and comfort of our visitors.”
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County Police Department is comprised of 114 sworn officers, who are responsible for keeping the District’s 68,000 acres of land safe. In addition to completing the police academy, these officers have also received specialized training in conservation and ecology from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and have a unique understanding of the sensitive legal issues facing the open and protected lands of the Forest Preserve District.
“Safety is a top priority at the Forest Preserve District. We know that the millions of families, nature lovers, fisherman and athletes who use our lands every year expect them to be safe and inviting. Our police force plays a critical role in that meeting that expectation, and we are excited to welcome Chief Roberts on board to lead our very own team of ‘Forest Rangers’,” Forest Preserve District of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall said.