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Veteran Reynolds named new Oak Park Police Chief

Jan. 3, 2019 – Interim Police Chief LaDon Reynolds, a 24-year-veteran of the Oak Park Police Department, has been selected as the new Chief of Police, Village Manager Cara Pavlicek announced today.

A swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tues., Jan. 8, at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. Reynolds succeeds Chief Anthony Ambrose, who retired in September after 34 years with the Oak Park Police Department.

One of four final candidates interviewed after a national search, Pavlicek said Reynolds offered the ideal combination of experience, ethics and commitment to Oak Park to lead the men and women of the Police Department who provide such a critical service for the community.

“In making this important hiring decision, I was delighted to have a veteran Oak Park officer perform so well among a strong field of candidates,” she said. “The experience, professionalism and leadership skills Chief Reynolds displayed throughout the rigorous selection process made it clear that he was the right candidate for the job.”

Pavlicek said Reynolds stood out among the candidates who participated in a process that included extensive interviews by a range of stakeholder panels that included residents, senior Village staff and even Oak Park and River Forest High School students. Representatives of the two Oak Park sworn police unions and law enforcement professionals from other communities also participated in the interview process, she said.

Reynolds, 47, joined the Oak Park Police Department in 1994 as a patrol officer. He rose steadily through the ranks to serve as a detective, sergeant and commander before being promoted to deputy chief in 2017. He assumed the role of interim chief in April 2018 when Chief Ambrose began an extended medical leave prior to his retirement.

“Even before I first put on the uniform of an Oak Park Police Officer more than two decades ago, I knew I wanted to serve,” Reynolds said. “But in those early days I saw myself on the streets as a patrol officer who eventually might become a detective and a sergeant. It would have been impossible to imagine this day back then. That’s why becoming chief of the department where I learned my trade is both humbling and exhilarating.

“I am grateful to the Village Manager for her confidence in my abilities to lead the Oak Park Police Department and to the Mayor and Village Trustees who have shown unwavering support of our mission and the services the Department provides,” he continued. “With their continued support, and that of the men and women of the Police Department who I am proud to call colleagues, I am confident that we will continue to provide the standard of service that Oak Park residents have come to expect.”

Citing his continued commitment to community service, Reynolds said as Chief of Police he will work to further enhance the partnership between citizens and the Police Department that has been so important to preventing and solving crimes in Oak Park.

Commitment to the organization also will be a crucial part of his focus as Chief, he said, including making sure Oak Park Police officers are not only properly equipped and trained, but prepared mentally and emotionally for the challenges they must face every day on the job.

Reynolds’ law enforcement experience and skills reach beyond his years with the Oak Police Department. In addition to his Oak Park Police duties, he has been an adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice Administration program at Triton College where he has taught courses in Law Enforcement Administration and Police Community Relations.

He also has been an instructor for Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Executive Institute at Western Illinois University, and has provided instruction in the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program and the Effective Police Supervision leadership course, where he taught modules on diversity, cultural awareness and community policing.

Reynolds holds a Master of Science degree in Education and Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Senior Management Institute for Police, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Executive Institute, and the Community Leadership Program at Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business.

For more information on the Oak Park Police Department, visit

Oak Park's new Police Chief LaDon Reynolds
New Police Chief LaDon Reynolds