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Honor Retiring Police Chief

Oak Lawn Village Board Salutes Efforts of Bill Villanova

The Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on Tuesday night was dedicated to honoring the achievements of retiring Oak Lawn Police Chief Bill Villanova.

Villanova started as a patrol officer in March, 1977. He served as an evidence technician and field training officer until his transfer to the detective division in 1989.

Villanova rose to the rank of sergeant and became supervisor of the tactical narcotics unit. He was then selected as team leader of the newly formed south suburban major crimes taskforce.

Villanova rose to lieutenant in 2003, and was appointed chief of detectives in 2004.

In 2006, Villanova was appointed police chief. He then received many awards in the years that followed.

In 2012, Villanova was named Police Chief of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission.

Mayor Dave Heilmann read Villanova’s achievements to a board room packed with family, friends, police and fire personnel.

Heilmann then presented a plaque to Villanova in honor of his service to the village. March 28 was then proclaimed to be ÒPolice Chief William V. Villanova Day” in Oak Lawn by Heilmann.

In an emotional thank you with frequent stops to regain his composure, Villanova praised the Oak Lawn Police Department.

ÒThis is a great police department,” Villanova said. ÒI couldn’t be prouder leading this group of men and women.

ÒThe things you said about me, struck me in the core. It means a lot to me that this department had your support and that your support will continue even though I’m gone.

ÒI won’t be far away. I’ll be watching.”

Villanova’s retirement begins Monday, April 1.

In the Public Comments segment of the meeting, Krista Wilkinson, mother of Kaylah Lentine, 14, who was killed in May, 2012 while crossing the intersection of Southwest Highway and Cicero Avenue, again asked the board to continue to pursue a turn signal and walk light designation at that corner.

It is an intersection wider than most and does not have adequate vehicular/pedestrian control, said Wilkinson.

Heilmann acknowledged that Òeverything you said is true.” Village Manager, Larry Deetjen agreed and said that the problem has not been forgotten but that it is an issue that IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation), as well as the Village, are working on together.

In other news, 2012 Fire and Public Safety coloring contest winners were presented a plaque and $25 gift certificate by Heilmann. The winners were second- through fourth-grade students from Oak Lawn grammar schools.

Fire Safety coloring winners were Kayla O’Brien, first place; Aleksander Petrovic, second place; and Mila Revell, third place.

The Public Safety coloring winners were Hiba Ouarerhni, first place; Andy Schroeder, second place; and Alessandra Vincento, third place.

The board also approved the sixth annual Oak Lawn Community Multiple Sclerosis Walk for Sunday, May 5, beginning at 9 a.m. at Richards High School, 10601 S. Central Ave.

Approval was given for the 6th annual Running for Hope 5K run/walk to be held Sunday, June 2.

An announcement was made for the opening at Christ Hospital of Gilda’s Club of Chicago. This is a cancer support service.

National Telecommunicators week is set for April 14, Earth Day is April 22, and Arbor Day April 26.

Early Voting began Monday and continues through Saturday, April 6 at the Village Hall.

The Police Department received approval to waive the formal bid process and purchase a Ford Utility Police Interceptor from Hawk Ford for $27,660.

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