Two Hickory Hills police officers will be advancing their way up the career ladder.
The retirement of Lieutenant Tom Dietz, resulted in Police Chief Alan Vodicka announcing at last Thursday’s city council meeting he is looking to promote two officers before the summer’s end: one sergeant to lieutenant and one patrol officer to sergeant.
“It is imperative we get these promotions done so we have the supervisor positions filled over the next two months,” he said.
Vodicka is planning to announce and promote the chosen officers at the July 10 city council meeting.
Vodicka has not yet released the names of the officers up for promotion, however, he was granted permission by a unanimous vote among the city council to allow for the two departmental promotions.
Upon the promotion of a sergeant and patrol officer, Vodicka will be looking to hire on one new recruit by September to begin the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Training Academy in October. A two-week notice must be given to the academy prior the recruit’s start date.
“There are different training academies out there and we do tend to bounce between different academies, but general y we use the Cook County Sheriff’s Training Academy for our new recruits,” Vodicka said.
Lieutenant Dietz retired after working with the Hickory Hills’ police department after 31 years of employment. City council members raised the concern of future retirees within the department.
“My concern is if more than one officer retires in the future, you have to have guys to replace them,” Alderman Deborah Ferraro said.
Vodicka explained since there are academy dates scheduled throughout the calendar year, this will hopefully not be an imminent concern within the department.
“The academy has scheduled dates throughout the year when new recruits can begin, but I would like to get the new hired on officer to begin academy this October, pending the coming promotions,” Vodicka said.
He said the department is also prepared for emergency situations where a new hire must be immediate.
“We also book slots in academy classes in anticipation of departures or retirements. So, we do that and if we do not need them, we cancel them within a certain time period if we are not going to put somebody through the academy,” Vodicka added.
Once an officer completes academy they progress onto live field training in the city. Hickory’s newest recruit, Officer Michael Franks completed academy this month and has begun his field training with the department. Franks was sworn into the department on March 27.
“I went to his graduation ceremony about a week ago, so right now he’s out on the streets and doing his field training,” Vodicka said, “And, he should be released from his field training within three months.”
In other news from the meeting:
• Once a week, recycling will begin in Hickory Hills on September 1. Waste Management will be sending out a flyer to residents within the next week, informing them of the change from bi-weekly to weekly recycling.
• Aaron’s rent-to-own store held its grand opening event on Saturday at 9600 S. Roberts Road. The store is a national leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of residential and office furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories.
• The Hickory Hills Street Fair took place this weekend at 94th Street and Roberts Road with 82 crafters and 20 food venders participating and the Johnson-Phelps VFW Post No. 5220 sponsoring the bingo tent.