Paul Klimek shakes hands with Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott after he was sworn in as police chief during the May 24 city council meeting. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Paul Klimek shakes hands with Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott after he was sworn in as police chief during the May 24 city council meeting. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Klimek promoted to police chief in Countryside

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By Steve Metsch

That didn’t take long.

Just two weeks after he was named acting police chief, Paul Klimek was officially named police chief by a unanimous vote of the Countryside City Council on May 24.

Klimek, 42, had been with the department since 2004 and replaces Joe Ford, who retired earlier this month after 10 years on the job.

“It means a lot (to me). It’s a great community, we have a great police department and I think it’s an honor to work here and serve this community,” Klimek said.

Becoming police chief has been a goal of his.

“It’s something I’ve worked hard at over the years. Lot of training and education. I’m very fortunate I had Chief (Joe) Ford here to mentor me for 10 years.”

“Huge impact. I can’t say enough good about Chief Ford. He’s a great leader and a great mentor over the years. He taught me a lot,” Klimek said.

As police chief, Klimek said he wants to put “a great emphasis on training our officers.”

“There’s a lot of mandates and expectations on us. I want to put a lot of effort in training and make sure they’re the best officers,” Klimek said.

“We’re very fortunate. We’ve been at full staffing. Chief Ford left, now we have one opening and we hope to get that filled,” Klimek said.

At the same meeting, Patrol Commander James Stern was named Deputy Chief of Police, taking the office that Klimek had held.

Stern, 43, has been with the department for 16 years.

“It’s a great community. We’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great leaders, and we hope to carry on that same tradition,” Stern said.

Ald. John Von Drasek (2nd) said he often hears from residents regarding the city’s police department.

“We get so many compliments for our police department from the top all the way down. Proud to work with you guys and keep up the good work. Thank you,” Von Drasek said.

In other business:

  • City Administrator Gail Paul, with the city for 16 years, was sworn in by Mayor Sean McDermott.
  • Elizabeth Saucedo, 10 years with the city, was promoted to the position of Deputy Clerk.
  • Mary Lou Pisone and Michael Wilson were re-appointed to Fire and Police Commission.

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