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Weaver Recommends Chicago Bureau Chief as Darien Police Chief

The City Council will vote on whether to approve the 28-year Chicago police veteran at Monday's meeting.

Mayor Kathleen Weaver has selected Ernest Brown, deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Bureau of Patrol, as the next .

The selection comes after four months of debate within the city about how Darien should fill the police chief role, and means one of the two deputy chiefs will return to sergeant rank. will vote at Monday's meeting on whether to accept the appointment.

Brown, one of roughly 140 internal and external candidates who applied for the position, has been with the Chicago Police Department for 28 years. 

In his role as bureau chief, he oversees 8,000 personnel in the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Patrol. The bureau includes all operational patrol functions, the helicopter unit, equestrian unit, traffic control section, SWAT, mobile strike force, targeted response unit and marine unit.

Before his appointment as a Chicago bureau chief, Brown was chief of the city’s organized crime division. Brown also served in the U.S. Air Force.

“Although I was presented with an excellent field of candidates, Mr. Brown emerged as my top choice, primarily due to his commitment to developing police strategies and his wide range of experience in police operations, along with his intergovernmental approach to police services,” Weaver said in a statement.

The Darien police chief position became vacant when former Chief Robert Pavelchik . 

Weaver appointed a to aid in the search process: David Kesler, Jim Bulla, John Gonczy, Chuck Slaybough and David Gore.

The committee narrowed down the original pool of applicants to 100 who live in Illinois. 

From those 100 resumes, Weaver, city staff and three members of the committee interviewed 10 candidates whom the committee scored the highest, according to the statement. Weaver and the city staff brought in three candidates from that pool for a second interview.

The appointment was made public early Friday morning in the agenda for Monday’s Darien City Council meeting. 

If the City Council approves Brown’s appointment, Darien will eliminate one of the two deputy chief positions, returning either David Skala or John Cooper to sergeant rank.

“(W)e are a little management-heavy at this point, and this is the right thing to do to reduce the Police Department budget,” Weaver said in June.

Before announcing June 1 it would  that would include both internal and external candidates, the city presented two other proposals for handling the police chief role.

On May 13, the city released a proposed ordinance that would have , transferring the department’s administrative duties to City Administrator Bryon Vana.

The City Council postponed voting on that ordinance after residents  about the proposal at the May 16 meeting.

Vana released a memo May 19 detailing a second proposal that would  to chief. Under that scenario, Vana would have assumed the same administrative duties as he would have under the first proposal.

Vana said in a statement Friday that Darien would be lucky to have someone with Brown’s experience heading the Police Department.

“He was been an excellent leader in the Chicago Police Department and has been recognized for his heroism and innovation in the field of law enforcement,” he said.

Barry Allen September 17, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Here's why its' important to email and call your alderman AND attend on Monday evening (if you can). He's NOT the chief, yet! 'Til now the mayor has pretty much shut the aldermen out of the search. BUT ... in Darien, mayoral appointments are with the "advice and consent" of the council. The council must approve (with a majority vote) any permanent appointments. The aldermen should be upset that they are being asked to confirm a candidate that they haven't interviewed. A call, and email and your attendance should convince them that we are ALL upset with such bad decisions. If they have your support (and with the games our mayor plays) it should be easy for them to vote NO.
Mark Kiwiet September 17, 2011 at 09:08 PM
I am sure that nobody on the 5 member blue ribbon panel that selected our new chief were Weaver political contributors in anyway shape or form ..... reading that policeman's blog (linked above) was nothing less than horrifying - holy cow
Josh Tibbs September 17, 2011 at 09:19 PM
If you refer to this article you will find Brown's response to his personal professional and financial issues: "Asked to respond, Brown said Chicago's internal investigations unit had never found him guilty of excessive force or police brutality, though he acknowledged there had been complaints against him." http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2008/08/05/20080805chiefsearch0805.html I would like to know the complaints of what internal affairs investigated him for and what the outcome was.
Lauren Williamson (Editor) September 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Hi John, Thanks for your patience over the weekend, as people won't be able to receive or respond to my phone calls. We are working on a follow up story. Best, Lauren
Joan September 18, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Why wasn't one of the Deputy Chiefs given the job, as they know the City? Why are we giving the job to someone from Chicago? The best option to me is to save the taxpayers money, and not wasting it paying another person. Does the city need 2 Deputy Chiefs? A concerned citizen.
Robert Wallin September 18, 2011 at 05:26 PM
To Mike: I think you may be missing the beauty of Patch. On Friday when I read the article about the appointment of a new police chief, I anticipated the community involvement that we are seeing on the Patch site. We all new to turn to Patch to see what other Darien citizens are thinking about the appointment. We know it effects all of us. We can all be watchdogs! Even you, who seems unhappy, has the opportunity to voice your opinion immediately for the people of Darien to see and read. Patch let Darien know about the meeting on Monday night, the agenda and the vote to take place. The community will have over 72 hours to respond and act. Patch creates these opportunities and local, community involvement is at the heart of what I see as the purpose of Patch. Sometimes our blessings are so close we can not see them. Patch is free. Patch is available to anyone to write a comment. Patch is about Darien- the schools, the merchants, social activities and the local politics. We are lucky to have their presence in our community. It can not be all things to all people, but it is where you can turn to find out what your fellow citizens are thinking.
Peter Kaminski September 18, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Joan, The intention was to eliminate one of the Deputy Chief positions upon the hiring if a new Chief. But you're right they can save money by hiring from within and maintain the integrity of the department.
Peter Kaminski September 18, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Barry, I have heard all the council members have meet the Mayors choice and they feel this is the best candidate. It does not appear any of the council members will oppose the mayors choice. This is still unbelievable that the Mayor beolieves this is the best candidate, I guess integrity and character doesnt matter anymore. If you read second city police blog everyone says the same thing this guy is smooth and can BS his way through an interview. I also cannot believe the council is not looking out for the best interest of the voters their consituents. Sad Day
Peter Kaminski September 18, 2011 at 06:46 PM
Jon, The council doesnt care about character or integrity, pretty sad.
Matt Goodwin September 18, 2011 at 08:58 PM
Jon/Peter, I think your comments are on track for the most part. I got two responses back from the emails that I sent to the Aldermen and women. Of the responses that I got, one of them provided a very lucid and reasonable position for their decision. I would caution about making blanket statements as to how they feel or act on behalf of the residents or Darien when the vote has yet to be cast. Based on the response that I got, they are willing to consider the opinions of their constituents. Therefore, I would encourage all of you to come out to the meeting or write/call your alderman and let them know how you feel about this situation. The vote is not until tomorrow evenings meeting so there is still time.
Josh Tibbs September 19, 2011 at 12:43 AM
I'd just like to point out that Ernie Brown does not have the "desirable" qualifications as what were listed in the chief's job posting. Here is what was "desirable.": A bachelor’s degree is also listed as a minimum qualification, while a master’s degree and completion of the FBI Academy, staff and command school, or another similar program is “desirable.” Ernie Brown does not currently hold a Master's Degree as it is pending completion at this time and he has not attended the FBI Academy or Staff and Command School. I suspect many who put in for the job have these job qualifications and they were not even interviewed. Why hire someone that does not fit your "desirable" qualities? This whole process smells.
Mike Hall September 19, 2011 at 12:50 AM
I see that one of the appointed comittee members to conduct the search is John Gonczy. It appears that John has also made a contribution to Weavers campaign on 02-05-07. Stinks like Crook County politics to me. I thought I moved away from that crummy part of the state. http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/ContributionsSearchByAllContributions.aspx?ddlContributionType=All+Types&ddlLastOnlyNameSearchType=Starts+with&txtLastOnlyName=gonczy&ddlFirstNameSearchType=Starts+with&txtFirstName=&ddlAddressSearchType=Starts+with&txtAddress=&ddlCitySearchType=Starts+with&txtCity=&ddlState=&txtZip=&txtZipThru=&ddlOccupationSearchType=Starts+with&txtOccupation=&ddlEmployerSearchType=Starts+with&txtEmployer=&txtAmount=&txtAmountThru=&txtRcvDate=&txtRcvDateThru=&ddlOrderBy=Last+or+Only+Name+-+A+to+Z
Mike Hall September 19, 2011 at 01:22 AM
John also made a contribution on 02-24-11. However, his name is spelled Gonzy. Hmmm... http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/ContributionsSearchByCommittees.aspx?ddlCmteContributionType=All+Types&ddlCmteLastOnlyNameSearchType=Starts+with&txtCmteLastOnlyName=&ddlCmteFirstNameSearchType=Starts+with&txtCmteFirstName=&ddlCmteAddressSearchType=Starts+with&txtCmteAddress=&ddlCmteCitySearchType=Starts+with&txtCmteCity=&ddlState=&txtCmteZip=&txtCmteZipThru=&ddlCmteOccupationSearchType=Starts+with&txtCmteOccupation=&ddlCmteEmployerSearchType=Starts+with&txtCmteEmployer=&txtCmteAmount=&txtCmteAmountThru=&txtCmteRcvDate=&txtCmteRcvDateThru=&ddlCmteOrderBy=Last+or+Only+Name+-+A+to+Z&ddlCmteNameSearchType=Contains&txtCmteName=weaver&txtCmteID=&txtCmteLocalID=&txtCmteStateID=&pageindex=21
voice of america September 19, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Be ready for a lot of mixups, misleading, which our mayor is great at and now strong-arm tactics, Old Chicago comes to Darien. Darien is going down. now our mayor will have a Strong-arm enforcer. He is in the suburbs you can expect a lot of lawsuits. in which the city of Darien, the people of Darien will have to pay.
Tom Koz September 19, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Rather than the City Council approving Mr. Brown to prove they are not racist, they should find, and hire, a better candidate to prove they are not idiots. Hmmm, have we NOT learned what happens when a smooth talking, minimally qualified person with a questionable background gets hired??? The outcome is NOT good!!
Matt Goodwin September 19, 2011 at 02:24 PM
I found an additional filing against Mr. Brown in my research. This one revolved around an incident in 1989 when, then, Officer Brown was part of a team that battered in the door of a house, entered in search of an individual and shot a young man. The case was appealed in federal court where court documents show that Mr. Brown's team failed to announce they were police officers when battering down the door, were not dressed in uniform and had their police markings on their raid clothing covered with jackets that did not bear any identifying marks. The young man was shot when he grabbed a gun to protect himself and his family. One of Brown's team members also put a gun to the young man's head as another team member allegedly kicked the man in the groin. The young man was arrested for possession of cocaine because a quantity was found in the house. This evidence was later thrown out when it was determined that one of Brown's officers had a cocaine addiction, which subsequently got the officer fired, and the courts determined this officer had sufficient time to plant the evidence after the young man was shot. Again, is this the best qualified candidate out of 140 that Darien had to choose from? Read the material for yourself: http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/102/102.F3d.282.95-2360.html
Matt Goodwin September 19, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Based on further research (http://www.peopleslawoffice.com/cases/victories/74/) the case was settled for $687,000. Using the high quality education that I got from the Darien school system, my math tells me that's well over $1 million in settlements the City of Chicago had to pay out in cases involving Mr. Brown. This whole process began because the City of Darien wanted to save money and Mr. Brown has a history of costing the city he works for over $1 million. Doesn't sound like a cost effective strategy to me.
Matt Goodwin September 19, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Since most people only read down to the bottom for their updates on a story, I want to put my reply here to a couple of things mentioned earlier. I recently sent an email out to all of the Aldermen and women in Darien and I cited the "Second City Cop" blog that was referenced earlier. While blogs can, at times, be very reliable sources of preliminary information, in this case it is not. When I first read the blog and crafted my email to the council members, Most of the information contained in that blog was of a nature, while aggressive, somewhat eye opening. However, after a recent conversation with Bryon Vana, I went back and re-read some of the newer posts on the blog. The majority of the comments that were posted are unprofessional, unethical and, in many cases, immoral. So I want to say here for all of the Patch readers, that I owe Mr. Brown the sincerest of apologies for using this information as even a preliminary source for any of my arguments. The language that is used in many of the arguments, whether the arguments are valid or not, is entirely unacceptable. If you are attending tonight's council meeting and plan to speak your case to the council or if you post any further discussion on these Patch articles, I urge you DO NOT use this blog or any of its comments for your arguments. And to Mr. Vana, I owe a dept of gratitudefor directing my attention back to that blog for review so that I could do the right thing in offering Mr. Brown my apologies.
Tom Koz September 19, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Matt, are we to believe all is better now and that Mr. Brown is the absolute best choice??? I don't think so!!
Matt Goodwin September 19, 2011 at 05:12 PM
Tom, I'm not saying that at all. My apology to Mr. Brown was for citing the Second City Cop blog as a preliminary source of information for my arguments. The language contained in that blog is unacceptable and hateful in many ways. However, my arguments on the basis of the two federal lawsuits that were settled for over $1 million of tax payer money and the aleged "mistake" on his AZ PD resume still stand. My earlier comment was to serve as an apology to Mr. Brown and to warn residents who are going to the meeting tonight NOT to use that blog in any way shape or form. We have to present a lucid, professional and well-organized argument to the council in order to sway their decisions. If we base our case on the types of things that are posted in that blog, then we will lose the argument from the moment we open our mouth. I cannot tell anyone what to say when they step into that council chamber; I myself can't even be there because I'm in the Middle East. But in order for us to have a chance to convince our elected officials that Mr. Brown is not who the people they were elected to represent want as chief of police, we MUST refrain from using that blog as a basis for our argument.
Tom Koz September 19, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Matt, thank you for the clarification and I am in agreement.
Matt Goodwin September 20, 2011 at 04:10 AM
Congrats Chief Brown, I hope that you prove me and everyone else wrong. I hope what is said about you is wrong and that you will not be the figure head, political appointee of Mayor Weaver; validating what just happened tonight. To Deputy Chief Skala and Deputy Chief Cooper, I am truly sorry that neither one of you were selected. If it ends up being your decision to leave Darien, we understand the circumstances and your decision. However, it will be our loss if you should leave. The years of dedicated service that you have given to this City, through good times and bad, are admirable and commendable. As a police officer, I would be happy to serve for you wherever you decide to go. Thank you very much, and on behalf of the citizens of Darien, THANK YOU!!!
Peter Kaminski September 20, 2011 at 01:46 PM
The most frustrating part of yesterdays council meeting was the Mayor constantly reminding everyone that the Police Chief choice was her decision to make. We the voters and her constituents get that, but we would have liked it if she took the citizens of Darien into consideration. She would argue that she did and thats why she chose brown but the citizens who spoke out against this appointment apparently fell on deaf ears. Please do not forget who voted in favor of this appointment, Ted Shauer, Tina Beilke, John Poteraske and Halil Avci.
voice of america September 20, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Time for Lawyer, I will give $100.00 for Rick to sue the mayor and City, I have know him for years he may have a drank with friends but I have never seen him drunk. E mail me how much will you give. lets take our town back its going down fast.
voice of america September 20, 2011 at 02:47 PM
their has to be a law the protect citizen from people like our mayor. and the good old boys that voted with her.
voice of america September 20, 2011 at 02:59 PM
I contacted my alderman yesterday and she told me she new nothing about Mr Brown, she was not involved with that but then voted for him anyway. come on tina
voice of america September 20, 2011 at 03:02 PM
I paid $21,000.00 in property tax last year. I want more for my money. Our mayor was out of line calling one of our top citizen a drunk.
voice of america September 20, 2011 at 03:13 PM
I will not forget.
Tom Selleck February 07, 2012 at 06:52 PM
What a slap in the face for two veteran officers/Deputy Chiefs with the Department for many many years!
Marc Kaminski February 07, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Hey Drew....I mean Tom This was along time ago..like back in September. AMAZING

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