Dennis Koletsos is retiring as police chief of Northlake after 16 years on the job.

Koletsos was hired from outside the department in May 1998. At the time, he had his work cut out for him. Seymour Sapoznik, who served as police chief from 1990 to 1994, was arrested for accepting payoffs from organized crime to ignore illegal gambling. In 1999, Sapoznik was sentenced to seven years in prison.

“There was no command structure, no regular training and morale was down,” said Mayor Jeff Sherwin. “The entire department needed a rebuilding.”

The department went through a series of police chiefs after Sapoznik’s exit. In 1997 the city hired the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police to review candidates. Out of the finalists, Koletsos was chosen by the City Council. Besides rebuilding the department, he oversaw the construction of a new police station in 2010.

“The police department, I think it is well repositioned organization,” Sherwin said. “It has a command structure, certification, training. It’s night and day compared to where it was 16 years ago.”

Koletsos will retire at the end of December.

Likely to succeed Koletsos is Norm Nissen, a second-generation Northlake Police Officer who has served as deputy chief for 16 years.

“In talking to the City Council, everyone seems to be on board with that decision,” Sherwin said.

 

Interview copied from the Franklin Park Herold-Journal

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