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Police Chief Ambrose to retire this month

Aug. 6, 2018 – After more than 34 years with the Oak Park Police Department, Chief Anthony Ambrose announced he will retire at the end of August.

Ambrose, who has been on leave since April, said he wants to focus his energies on getting well following a successful liver transplant before resuming what he called “a career of helping people.”

“It has been a good run,” he said, reminiscing about his three-plus decades with the Oak Park Police Department. “Being chief of the Oak Park Police Department was the achievement of a goal I set when I first put on the uniform more than 34 years ago. Choosing to retire was a tough decision. But I know in my heart and head it is time for me to pass the chief’s stars on to a new generation of leadership.”

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said Ambrose’s decision to retire demonstrated his dedication and commitment to the department he has served and led with such distinction.

“Chief Ambrose was essential to the success of Oak Park’s approach to law enforcement at the neighborhood level,” she said. “His work as Chief will continue to shape the compassion demonstrated by law enforcement in this community for years to come. While I will miss working day to day with Tony, I am happy he will be starting a gratifying retirement.”

Calling Oak Park “a one in a million community,” Ambrose said the outpouring of support when he recently became ill was “overwhelming but incredibly gratifying.”

“The support from the community was just awesome,” he said. “It is this level of citizen engagement and willingness to get involved that has made my career here so rewarding. All I ever wanted was a job where I could make a difference and help people. Working here proved to be that and more. I don’t think I will ever be able to adequately express my thanks to the community for giving me the opportunity to serve.”

He called raising awareness of the need to improve understanding of mental health issues among law enforcement agencies in Oak Park and beyond the proudest achievement of his career.

“I have always believed that if you treat people with dignity and respect they will do the same to you,” Ambrose said. “I strived to instill this simple notion in the mindset of our Police officers. I truly believe I succeeded and the community is better for it.”

Ambrose joined the Oak Park Police Department as a patrol officer in 1984. He quickly rose through the ranks to sergeant and commander, before becoming deputy chief in 2005. He was named police chief in 2016, succeeding Rick C. Tanksley who retired after 33 years with the Oak Park Police Department.

Ambrose is Oak Park’s 12th Police Chief. A decision regarding selecting his successor likely will follow a formal search, Pavlicek said. In the meantime, Deputy Chief LaDon Reynolds will continue to serve in the acting chief role he assumed in April.

Pavlicek noted the Village is working with Ambrose to determine a date later in September for a community retirement celebration. Details will be shared closer to the event, she said.

Photo of retiring Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose
Police Chief Anthony Ambrose