Four years after previous boss resigned, Chicago finally has a new US Marshal – Chicago Tribune

After almost four years, Chicago finally has a new permanent US Marshal.

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of former Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds as the next US Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois, one of the top federal enforcement positions of the law in the city.

Senior US District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said Thursday that she met with Reynolds recently and found him to be a “consummate professional” with the poise needed for high-profile work.

“We are very happy,” Pallemeyer said in a telephone interview. “It fits wonderfully. He is down to earth, a dedicated family person.”

She said Reynolds also has a background in good policing and has taught law enforcement and criminal justice issues in various capacities.

The last person on the job, Edward Gilmore, abruptly resigned in May 2018 after he was found to have made an inappropriate comment about shooting a judge during firearms training, according to a report from the US Department of Justice. USA

Reynolds was selected more than two months ago after a bipartisan selection committee led by former US District Judge David Coar made the recommendation to Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

But his path to confirmation hit a roadblock in the politically polarized Senate Judiciary Committee, where a group of Republicans led by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton blocked all Justice Department nominees over an unrelated controversy involving federal law enforcement officers sued for their actions during Black Lives. Major protests in Portland, Oregon, in 2020.

In February, Durbin, the committee’s chairman, criticized Cotton’s “filibuster” efforts, saying he put politics before the security of the American people.

“Try to follow that logic, if you want,” Durbin said at the time. “(Cotton) is so committed to law enforcement, he is so committed to US Marshals, that he will not allow us to appoint people to fill [U.S. Marshal] vacancies.”

On Wednesday, US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sought the unanimous consent of 10 US Attorney and US Marshal candidates — including Chief Reynolds — and Republicans did not object, paving the way for a voice vote that confirmed Reynolds in a position of four votes. term of one year.

Durbin and Duckworth later released a statement calling Reynolds a “seasoned law enforcement veteran who will perform with distinction in this important role.”

“He has the experience to succeed and help keep our communities and our federal judiciary safe,” the statement read.

A spokesman for Cotton was not immediately available for comment.

Pallmeyer said Thursday that he had been bracing for more delays in Washington and that Reynolds’ confirmation came as a pleasant surprise.

Reynolds served since 2019 as police chief of the Oak Park Police Department before resigning earlier this month. He began his police career in the near western suburb in 1994 and was promoted to detective commander in 2010 and deputy police chief in 2017.

His commission still needs to be signed by President Joe Biden before he is formally sworn in, a process that should be completed in the coming days.

Among other functions, the US Marshals Service is tasked with protecting federal judges, apprehending fugitives, transporting federal prisoners, selling seized assets, and operating the federal Witness Security Program.

The Chicago field office is one of the organization’s busiest, regularly attracting high-ranking law enforcement officials from around the country.

The position has been vacant since Gilmore was forced to resign.

The Tribune reported that the comment was directed at then-Chief US District Judge Ruben Castillo, who said in an interview that he and Gilmore had “some difficult exchanges” about courtroom security before Gilmore made the move. threat. Although the comment was apparently a joke, Castillo called the situation “unfortunate.”

“This is a guy who could walk into my room with a gun at any time, no problem,” Castillo said at the time. “What if it wasn’t a joke?”

Since Gilmore’s resignation, the position has been filled by a series of acting US Marshals.

jmeisner@chicagotribune.com

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