Eric Rossi is the new police chief in Orland Park. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Eric Rossi is the new police chief in Orland Park. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Rossi sworn in as Orland Park’s top cop

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By Jeff Vorva

There was a heavy police presence at Monday’s Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees meeting, but it had nothing to do with controversy over a hot-button issue, which usually brings the men and women in blue to meetings.

No, this gathering of cops both young and old were to witness the swearing in of their new police chief—one who rose through their own ranks.

Eric Rossi, the interim chief since April after Joseph Mitchell retired in late March, takes the top spot after the board unanimously approved the 44-year-old Rossi’s appointment

He has seemingly done it all as an Orland Park policeman in the past 17 years. He’s been a patrol officer, bicycle patrol officer, field training officer, investigator, patrol sergeant, lieutenant in administration, investigations commander and deputy chief.


Some Orland Park police take in the Eric Rossi swearing-in ceremony from upstairs of Village Hall. Photo by Jeff Vorva

After being sworn in, Rossi had some thanking to do, especially when it came to his family.

“To my friends and family who took time out of their day to come here, I thank you,” he said. “Thank you for your support throughout the years and everything you have ever done for me.

“To my wife, my mom and dad and two daughters, thank you for everything. The 2 a.m. phone calls, the 39 hours working a murder case…thank you.

“To the men and women of the Orland Park Police Department, these are the workers who make this town safe. Thank you for everything that you do.”

Rossi has also served on the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force as an investigator and assistant commander.

“You are going to do a great job,” Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said at the meeting. “I know we picked the right guy. I know that the chiefs that preceded you worked you all the way up the department for this role.

They trained you, they prepared you and they know that you’re ready. We know that you’re ready. So, we’re looking forward to your tenure as chief.”

The past two chiefs, Mitchell and Tim McCarthy, were on hand to support Rossi.

Trustee Sean Kampas said that Rossi has been trained by the best.

“It’s been a distinct pleasure to learn about the operations of a world-class police department that has been built on a culture of excellence,” he said. “It’s especially fitting that the torch of leadership be passed with someone who is as intimately involved in the continuous improvement of the department as you have been over your many years of service.

“In our individual conversations with Chief Mitchell and Chief McCarthy and the discussions with the women and men of the department, I have no doubt that you demonstrate expert competency as well as a high degree of passion for the officers and the staff of the department, the security of our businesses and the safety of our residents.”

Rossi is a graduate of Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Lewis University. He is married and has two children.

He was raised in Tinley Park, attended Andrew High School and served as a caddy at Crystal Tree Country Club growing up.

He takes over for Mitchell, who left to become the chief in Wilmington. Mitchell was with the force for 27 years including the past two years as chief.

Pekau addressed the police in attendance and lauded them for their work over the years.

“Chief Rossi coming through the department from the very beginning is a reflection on all of you and what a great department that we have from top to bottom,” the mayor said. “We can develop our own leaders and we do throughout the department. We have the best department in the state of Illinois and that’s because of you and it’s because of the leadership.”

1 Comment

  1. Vince and Kathy Keefe on May 4, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Congratulations! We’re proud to have you as our Police Chief.

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