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New Commander, Bill Looney, Named for Jefferson Park Police District

By Heather Cherone | December 14, 2015 7:35am
 Capt. William
Capt. William "Bill" Looney, who had been assigned to the Town Hall Police District.
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Facebook/William Looney

JEFFERSON PARK — Chicago police officials late Sunday named a new leader for the Jefferson Park Police District, promoting Cmdr. Roger Bay to help lead nine North Side Police Districts, officials said.

Bay will be replaced by Capt. William "Bill" Looney, who had been assigned to the Town Hall Police District, where he helped lead the fight against a summer crime surge in Lakeview.

Bay, a resident of Dunning who has led the Jefferson Park Police District since April 2014, was promoted to the department's leadership by Interim Supt. John Escalante as part of a series of sweeping changes officials said in a statement were designed to create the "most diverse police command staff" in the department's history.

Escalante took over the department after Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired former Supt. Garry McCarthy after officials were forced to released a dashcam video showing a police officer shoot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, killing him.

Bay will be commander of Area North, the police service are that includes nine police districts stretching across the city north from Roosevelt Road on the West Side of the city, Division Street in the center of the city and Fullerton Avenue near the lake.

The Jefferson Park Police District, which covers most of the Far Northwest Side, is the safest in the city, according to data released by the city. A DNAinfo Chicago analysis in July found that shootings in most neighborhoods on the Far Northwest Side city are few and far between, unlike other parts of the city plagued by gang violence.

Bay said he often was forced to battle the perception of crime increasing on the Far Northwest Side — where many police officers, firefighters and city workers live — rather than actual crimes.

Looney, the No. 2 officer in the Town Hall Police District, became a lieutenant in 2013, and worked in the Office of Crime Control Strategies, which was part of McCarthy's effort to implement a statistics-based policing strategy he used as a member of the New York Police Department and the chief of the Newark, New Jersey, police force.

Looney is likely to face many of the same issues in the Jefferson Park Police District as he did in the Town Hall Police District, which includes Uptown, Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park and North Center.

Bay faced frequent calls for more officers to be assigned to the Jefferson Park Police District, the largest in the city, a refrain Looney heard often at community meetings in Lakeview.