Following 33 years of service as a law enforcement officer, Oak Park Police Chief Rick C. Tanksley has announced his decision to retire effective Sept. 1, according to a news release from the Village.
Tanksley was appointed as Oak Park’s 11th Chief of Police in 2001. He first began as a patrol officer in 1984 before rising through the ranks as a sergeant and commander as well as a deputy chief from 1993-2001.
“Chief Tanksley has given the community many, many years of loyal service and for that we are grateful,” said current Village Manager Cara Pavlicek. “Given Rick’s tenure with the Oak Park Police Department, I have always known his retirement was possible at any time. The position of Chief of Police is demanding and Rick’s background in social work allowed him to relate to the public in a meaningful way. He has continued to advocate for Oak Park’s community oriented policing strategies and that impact has been profound here. He will be missed.”
A decision regarding who will succeed Tanksley as Police Chief may come as early as next week, according to Pavilcek.
In terms of what went into making this decision, Tanksley said the following:
“Choosing to retire from the Oak Park Police Department was one of the toughest decisions of my career. Working for the Village is so much more than a job. Oak Park is my hometown and the character of the community is part of who I am. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when change is necessary not only for my own personal and professional growth but for the organization as well. That time for me is now.
“I will miss the job. I will miss my colleagues, both in the Police Department and the Village. But most of all, I will miss the people of Oak Park with whom I have had so many rewarding interactions – often under some pretty trying circumstances. I know I will never be able to recreate such a unique experience, but I am content to leave that opportunity to those who follow me in pursuing a career with the Oak Park Police Department.”