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Oak Lawn welcomes new police chief

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

randy palmer photo 8-3

                                                                                    Photo by Dermot Connolly

New Oak Lawn Police Chief William "Randy" Palmer (right) shakes hands with his newly retired predecessor, Michael Murray, at a cake and coffee "going-away party" for Murray held Friday at the Oak Lawn police station.

A smooth transition was made this week between Oak Lawn’s retiring police chief, Michael Murray, and the newly appointed William “Randy” Palmer, who already is well-known with more than 22 years of experience with the Oak Lawn Police Department.

Village Manager Larry Deetjen issued a statement last Thursday announcing Palmer’s appointment, noting that he is the village’s 11th chief, since the first one was hired more than 100 years ago.

With Murray retiring after 30 years of service, Deetjen said that Palmer was chosen following a lengthy search within the department, after several “very qualified candidates” put their names forward for consideration.

Palmer was one the most well-known members of the Oak Lawn Police Department already, having served as chief of investigations and public information officer since 2014.

After stepping into his new role on Monday, he was too busy to be interviewed earlier this week. But he joked on Friday during a coffee-and-cake retirement party honoring Murray that he already has encountered his first “troll,” before even officially taking over the job. The new chief laughed as he told of reading the comments under his photo that appeared on an online publication announcing his appointment.

“Doesn’t he look like Captain Kangaroo?,” said one commenter, referring to the onetime children’s TV show host played for decades by Bob Keeshan.

The new chief is an Air Force veteran who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Governors State University. He is a graduate of the 234th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., and also attended John Marshall Law School.

Prior to being chief of investigations and public information officer, during his long career with Oak Lawn, he has served as a patrol officer, watch commander, detective sergeant and supervisor in both the Patrol and Detective divisions. He also has been an investigator and assistant commander of the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, which he served for 13 years.

“Contemporary times have put the spotlight on police departments and their officers nationally. Chief Palmer pledges adherence to our local ordinances and the U.S. Constitution with respect for individual rights and safety, and the protection of law-abiding residents of our great village of Oak Lawn,” said Deetjen.

The village manager said the quality of the candidates from within the department who competed for the top job bodes well “for the strong leadership future that the Oak Lawn Police Department had in place.”