Joliet National Police Chief Search: Only 4 Candidates

JOLIET, IL — Kathy Franson, Joliet’s director of human resources, received only four applications after posting the job posting Oct. 12 as part of a nationwide search to hire a new permanent police chief. to oversee one of Illinois’ largest municipal departments, Joliet Patch learned.

The Joliet Police Department has approximately 250 sworn officers and 60 civilian employees.

On Tuesday, Joliet Patch announced the news of his retirement Cook County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans will become Joliet’s next police chief, marking the first time since the 1990s that Joliet has hired a police chief from outside the department.

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Last week, Joliet Patch submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to city officials for information about the Joliet Police Chief’s hiring process.

On Wednesday, Joliet answered Patch’s FOIA questions with the following answers:

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Patch: How many people applied for the job?

Answer from Joliet: 4

Patch: The number of people who withdrew their candidacy?

Joliet’s response: None

Patch: The number of people who have been notified by the City of Joliet that they are no longer being considered for the position of Chief of Police?

Joliet’s response: None

Patch: How many people from outside Illinois applied for the job?

Joliet’s response: None

Wednesday, retired Will County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy of Investigations Nick Ficarello who later served as Braidwood Police Chief, told Joliet Patch that he was one of the people to apply for the Joliet Police Chief opening.

Ficarello said he was in the Will County Sheriff’s Office from March 1978 to September 2009. He served as Braidwood’s police chief from April 2015 to April 2019.

In November 2020, Ficarello ran as the Republican candidate for Will County executive, losing to Democrat Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, who garnered 53.9%, with 172,941 votes, while Ficarello had 46.1 %, with 147,673 votes.

Patch asked Ficarello what motivated him to apply for the job of Chief of Police of Joliet?

“I’m always up for a challenge,” Ficarello remarked.

In November, Patch reported how the Joliet Police Department continued to be the subject of statewide and national negative attention and instability at the top of the police administration.

At that time, one of the nation’s largest newspapers, USA TODAY, reported that members of the Joliet Police Sgt. Javier Esqueda’s Joliet Police Supervisors Association voted 35 to 1 to kick Esqueda out of their group in a vote Wednesday night at the Joliet Moose Lodge building.

Mike Devito, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council for Patrolmen, told the Joliet Patch in late October that “we are desperately looking for someone who can come and mentor this young department and get it out of this turmoil and bring it to life.” back to where we were.”

During Wednesday’s interview with Patch, Ficarello said he didn’t know Evans was in the running for the job, but thinks Evans will make a good leader.

Ficarello said he had met Evans a few times over the years when Ficarello led the Will County SWAT unit and Evans served as supervisor of the Cook County SWAT team.

“I met Bill, and he seems like a pretty capable person,” Ficarello said.

Manhattan Republican Nick Ficarello told Patch that he applied for the job opening for Joliet Police Chief. File/John Ferak/Patch

Asked if he was surprised that Joliet had only received four applications for police chief after four months of posting the job advertisement, Ficarello replied: “Yeah, that’s the case, especially for a department the size of Joliet.”

The City of Joliet established several desired minimum qualifications that would have prevented the consideration of several hundred police chiefs and deputy chiefs in small to medium towns in Illinois and elsewhere.

For example, Joliet’s Director of Human Resources said candidates for the position of Joliet Police Chief should have “a minimum of 10 years of actual work experience in a law enforcement agency and a minimum of five years in a command position in a law enforcement organization with 200 or more sworn personnel.

On October 6, Joliet City Manager Jim Capparelli got rid of Dawn Malec as Joliet Police Chief after less than nine months on the job.

Before Malec was hired last January, AlRoechner, Joliet’s police chief for the previous two and a half years, agreed to retire as part of a financial settlement reached by outgoing acting city manager Jim Hock during Hock’s last days on the job before Capparelli does not take over.

The arrangement gave Roechner a raise of more than $31,000 to increase his Joliet police pension as well as his retirement payout for his unused sick days, vacation and compensation time accruals to entice Roechner to leave Joliet on her own.

After determining that Malec was not the right person to lead the Joliet Police Department, Capparelli appointed Rob Brown as acting chief in October. Capparelli made it clear that Brown would take on this role on a temporary basis and not become the permanent leader.

Since Malec’s demotion to patrol lieutenant, Brown served as Joliet Police Chief for most of October, all of November, December, January and he still holds that position. Last January, Brown was promoted from lieutenant to deputy chief of operations.

As for Evans, the retired Cook County Sheriff’s Department lieutenant ran against incumbent Sheriff Tom Dart in the 2014 Democratic primary, finishing second out of four candidates on the ballot.

Evans, 54, has spent nearly 25 years in Cook County. According to his Wikipedia page, “Evans became Gang Crimes Sergeant in 1997, focusing on high crime areas of Cook County including Ford Heights, Cicero, Melrose Park and Maywood. He also served as a sergeant in the HIDTA initiative of the southern suburbs of Cook County (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) where he supervised the street police team.”

His Wikipedia page also noted that Evans “commanded the Special Operations Group from 2003 to 2005, including the Organized Crime/Intelligence Section, the Vice and Gambling Section, and the Hostage Barricade Terrorist Team. Evans has was assigned to the Office of Deputy Chief of Special Duties, overseeing the Emergency Services Office until December 2010.”

Joliet did not post a salary for his police chief’s opening, saying salary was dependent on qualifications.

Chicago’s Bill Evans comes to Joliet to bring stability to the leadership of the Joliet Police Department. File/John Ferak/Patch

Brandon D. James