At a press conference held on Dec. 11, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz announced the appointment of Demitrous Cook as Evanston police chief.
Now heading the Glenwood Police Department, Chief Cook previously served 26 years at the Evanston Police Department, including six years as Deputy Chief of Police.
Two months ago, current Police Chief Richard Eddington announced that he would retire at the end of the year.
“Once the initial shock wore off, we held a number of community meetings to learn what sort of chief the community wanted,” Mr. Bobkiewicz said. “It’s safe to say that if [the new chief] wasn’t from Evanston, he would have to know Evanston. I believe we have found that person.
“Many of you know Chief Cook began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a police supervisor with the Northwestern University Police Department, serving both the Chicago and Evanston campuses. In 1984, he joined the Evanston Police Department as a patrol officer, rising through the ranks to become Deputy Chief of Police in 2004, overseeing the department’s Support Services Division and later the Investigative Services Division. In 2010, he was hired as the Chief of Police for the Glenwood Police Department.
“Demitrous Cook is a proven leader and is the right choice to lead the Evanston Police Department,” continued Mr. Bobkiewicz. “ With 37 years of law enforcement experience, including nearly 30 years in Evanston, Demitrous is uniquely qualified to address our community’s public safety needs and challenges.
“We’re proud to welcome back Chief Cook.”
Chief Cook spoke briefly and answered questions from the audience.
“I wish to pay my respects to Chief Eddington. He’s a great friend and a mentor,” said Chief Cook. “My goal is to come here and make positive changes, to get down to the root causes that cause mistrust of the police.
“We’re going to discuss things civilly to see what needs to change.
“I plan to network with the business community, Northwestern University, [School] Districts 65 and 202 and the clergy.”
Community member Carlis Sutton asked, “What is your policy on open doors?”
“I’m not going to be hiding,” Chief Cook said. “My policy is to be open. I’ve learned to listen and will take things into consideration.” He also said he would welcome community members to the Police Department and would accept all invitations
Rabbi Dov Klein said, “I know you will build on Chief Eddington’s legacy.”
Chief Cook said, “These police officers work hard. They do a good job, and I’ll help them do a better job.”
During his 37 years in law enforcement, Chief Cook has held a variety of external leadership positions. He served as president of the South Suburban Emergency Response Team and as vice president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Chicago Metropolitan Chapter. He also provided instruction on community-oriented policing services at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Public Safety Partnerships.
Chief Cook holds a Master of Science degree in Criminal Social Justice from Lewis University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement from Southern Illinois University. He is a graduate of the FBI’s Midwest Law Enforcement Executive Development program and Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command. He is also a 1999 graduate of the Evanston Community Foundation’s Leadership Evanston program.
To cries of “Welcome back” from the community members and police officers in the audience, Chief Cook said, “I never left Evanston.” Physically, he did leave, but he said he will move back.