16th (Jefferson Park) District assigned more officers; district commander Looney retiring
by BRIAN NADIG
The assignment of additional police officers to the 16th (Jefferson Park) District was announced at a Nov. 13 press conference which also included an introduction of the district’s new commander Maureen Biggane and a farewell to retiring commander William Looney.
Biggane announced that the district recently was assigned five probationary police officers, eight veteran officers, two sergeants and one lieutenant, giving the district a total of 264 sworn personnel.
The recent assignments leave the district with 231 police officers, including 15 field-training officers, compared to about 270 police officers in the early 2000s. The district also has 22 sergeants, nine lieutenants, one captain and a commander.
The district had about 190 police officers 3 years ago and 225 last spring. The district has struggled to keep up with attrition rates, as officers retire or seek a transfer to O’Hare Airport, and at times the district was unable to have two officers in some beat cars.
Area North Deputy Chief Al Nagode said that the district was assigned several officers with about 10 years of experience who could be working there for a long time. He said that in the past the district seemed to attract either new officers with little experience or 30-year veterans who went on medical leave.
First Deputy Superintendent of Police Anthony Riccio thanked the community and area aldermen for their relentless efforts in demanding more police officers for the district. Riccio also said that he hopes more sergeants can be assigned to make it easier for citizens to talk to a supervisor when needed and that he is aware of concerns expressed by the aldermen for more bilingual officers in the district.
At the press conference, Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) said that the district has been understaffed due to its low crime rates and that he will continue to advocate for more officers. “I always felt we’ve been cheated for being a safe community,” he said.
Sposato told Biggane to let him know if she needs any type of resources. “I’ll be your voice,” Sposato said. “I’m not afraid to say things you can’t.”
Alderman John Arena (45th) said that he welcomes the additional officers to the district and that Looney deserves praise for his “outstanding” community outreach efforts. Looney is retiring this month after 32 years of service in the Chicago Police Department.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) said that Looney worked tirelessly to address the needs of residents and merchants during his 3-year tenure as commander. “(He) always picks up the phone,” he said.
Napolitano added that he was especially pleased to see the assignment of what he calls experienced “mid-timer” officers who will not be retiring anytime soon.
Biggane concluded the news conference by thanking Looney for helping her during the transition and said that the district will continue its strong partnerships with community organizations and chambers of commerce.
Most recently Biggane, who joined the police force in 1992, was assigned to the Office of the First Deputy Superintendent, and she also has worked in the Bureau of Organized Crime, Office of Communications and the Bureau of Detectives.