Palos Hills welcomes new police chief

                                                                                                                             Photo by Joe Boyle
Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett (at right) congratulates Jeff Cucio on becoming the city’s new police chief during the city council meeting last Thursday night. Cucio will officially become the new police chief on Nov. 1.
By Joe Boyle
Palos Hills has a new police chief, and they did not have to look far to find him.
Mayor Gerald Bennett nominated Jeff Cucio to become the new Palos Hills police chief during last week’s city council meeting. The board then unanimously approved the selection of Cucio. He will officially replace Paul Madigan, who is retiring after serving 27 years in the position.
Madigan will officially retire on Oct. 31 and Cucio will officially become the city’s police chief on Nov. 1.
Bennett said he preferred to hire from within because through Madigan, the police personnel has become stronger over the years, he said. Cucio has been on the force for 20 years with 11 of those of years as a deputy chief.
“What we are looking for is continuity but also leadership,” Bennett said. “Jeff has done a great job and he brings a lot of energy along with his leadership.”
Bennett said he is impressed with Cucio’s experience and the fact that Madigan has tutored a solid staff of professionals in the city’s police department. Madigan was ill and was not able to attend last Thursday’s meeting. Bennett added that he is impressed with the police department that through their work has had Palos Hills consistently listed in the top 10 of municipalities with the fewest crimes in the state.
“Jeff will maintain that level of professionalism,” Bennett added. “I’m convinced that Jeff will maintain that excellence which we have come to expect over the years. I know he will do a great job.”
Cucio was sworn in at the meeting by City Attorney George Pappas. Bennett then went up to greet him during a larger than normal crowd who were there to witness the event.
Several aldermen also praised the selection of Cucio as the new police chief.
“As a longtime resident of Palos Hills, we are fortunate to have someone for our police chief like Jeff Cucio,” said Ald. Mike Lebarre (3rd).
Pappas mentioned during the meeting that demolition plans for the building on the 9700 block of Meryton Court will take place soon. The building along 102nd Street that Ald. Joe Marrotta (4th) had said has been an eyesore to the community has been leveled.
The issue of the city taking over the Horseman’s Association Trail along Kean Avenue was discussed. Bennett said that the Horseman’s Association can no longer afford the finances of caring for the trail. The mayor said the city has been managing the area for some time so they could absorb the costs. The Horseman’s Association will continue to pay the taxes, Bennett said. The board approved the measure.
Marrotta said work on the Palos Hills Municipal Golf Course continues under the leadership of the new director, Pat Frazier. The mayor is pleased of the progress taking place at the nine-hole course.
“It’s been incredible with golf this year,” Bennett said. “Pat has done a great job. We have just so many golfers this past year.”
Ald. Dawn Nowak (5th) reminded everyone that trick-or-treating will take place on Halloween, which is on a Saturday this year. Trick-or-treating will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. Nowak said that signs are available at City Hall, 10355 S. Roberts Road, and the Community Center, 8455 W. 103rd St., as well as the city’s website, indicating either if residents want to participate in Halloween or not. The city’s website is www.paloshillsweb.org.
A jack-o-lantern decorating contest, sponsored by the city’s Resource and Recreation Department, is being offered. Residents should send a picture of themselves with the decorated pumpkin to [email protected] The photos will be accepted until Saturday, Oct. 24. Voting will take place at the Palos Hills Community Resource and Recreation Facebook page until Saturday, Oct. 31. The winner will receive a gift certificate.
Bennett wished everyone a Happy Halloween at the conclusion of the meeting and to be safe.
“I’m just asking residents to wear masks and practice social distancing,” Bennett said. “As we know the numbers of cases are going up.”
The next Palos Hills Committee of the Whole and City Council meetings will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.

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