New Hillside Police Chief Talks About First Several Months On The Job

New Hillside Police Chief Daniel Murphy at Autumnfest on Oct. 8. | Michael Romain 

Sunday, October 9, 2022 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

New Hillside Police Chief Daniel Murphy was sworn-in on July 11. He succeeds retired chief Joseph Lukaszek. 

During a brief interview at Autumnfest on Oct. 8, Chief Murphy spoke about his first several months on the job. 

“With any transition, there are growing pains to figure things out but I’m enjoying it,” he said. 

“We’ve restructured the department a little bit and tried to streamline the leadership of the department. I haven’t made too many dramatic changes yet,” he added. “ I’ve only been in the spot for two-and-a-half months now. I’m just getting my footing underneath me and meeting with other chiefs.” 

Chief Murphy said while he hasn’t been at the helm of the department long, he’s already noticed what may be a historic inflection point in the police profession. 

There are fewer and fewer people applying to become police officers just as a possibly unprecedented number of departments across the state are getting new leadership. 

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“I did a class with the Illinois State Training and Standards Board for new police chiefs and they had almost 90 new chiefs in this class,” Chief Murphy said. “They usually average about 30 chiefs a year and they said this was one of the biggest classes they’ve had.” 

According to a survey administered this year to members of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, respondents ranked “recruitment and retention” as their greatest challenge. 

The law enforcement trade publication Police 1 reported that, according to the survey, resignations and retirements increased by 29% in 2021 from 2020. Resignations alone jumped by 65% in 2021 from 2020 while retirements jumped by 7% within that time period. 

Additionally, survey respondents reported hiring 895 police officers in 2020 and 2021, with nearly half of those lateral hires of officers who were already trained and working for different agencies. 

Chief Murphy said he knows the shortage firsthand. 

“When I took the test for Hillside almost 26 years ago, it was about 500 or 600 people who took the [test],” he said. “We just had applications and just had a test a few weeks ago. We had 51 people take out the application but only 36 passed the written test.” 

The chief said he hopes at least 30 eligible candidates land on a list of prospective officers, which could include several women recruits.

“This test we just did looks like a pretty diverse reflection of Hillside, which is what I would strive for,” Chief Murphy said. 

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