McCook’s newest police officer, Jenna Calderone, shakes hands with Police Commissioner Ken Lyons after she was sworn in at the Aug. 21 village board meeting. Village Trustee Thomas Perrin looks on. (Photo by Steve Metsch) 

McCook’s newest police officer, Jenna Calderone, shakes hands with Police Commissioner Ken Lyons after she was sworn in at the Aug. 21 village board meeting. Village Trustee Thomas Perrin looks on. (Photo by Steve Metsch) 

Air Force veteran joins McCook Police Department

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By Steve Metsch 

After spending 14 years in the Air Force, including the last 12 as a paralegal, Jenna Calderone is ready for a new challenge.

She found one in McCook.

On Aug.21, the McCook Village Board unanimously approved hiring Calderone as a police officer.

She was sworn in by Ken Lyons, a McCook police commissioner.

Congratulations. Good luck in the academy. We can’t wait to get you back on the streets,” McCook Mayor Terrance Carr said.

Calderone started training Aug. 28 at the Chicago Police Academy.

After 16 weeks in that program, she will hit the streets of McCook as a probationary police officer. The probation period lasts two years.

Calderone, 33, is happy to be joining the police department.

She’s been interested in law enforcement for years, and knows the important roles police officers sometimes play in residents’ lives.

“I feel it will be a great opportunity. It’s a great town to work for. … I’ve always wanted to go the police route,” Calderone said.

“It all starts with community policing and giving back. … I grew up in Forest Park. … They had all these different events (with the police). It made individuals look to the police officers that they were something special, something to aspire to be.

“I think the world needs officers like that again,” she said.

She looks forward to meeting McCook’s residents.

“It’s huge, that contact. You’re the first person they’re going to see on the best day or the worst day of their life. They’re looking for that police officer to empathize and sympathize with them and still get the job done,” Calderone said.

The plan is for Calderone to be working on the streets of McCook starting Dec. 18, three days after she graduates from the academy, Deputy Chief David DeLeshe said.

Her military background and discipline “is a strong suit for us,” he said.

“She has a background in some police work, has computer experience, degrees in grant writing, stuff like that,” he said.

The hiring of Calderone puts the department one short of being fully staffed, he said.

In a related police story, DeLeshe said a drone the department acquired this year has been used several times with success this summer.

McCook hopes to possibly form a “drone team with our neighbors,” he said, referring to police in Countryside, Brookfield and North Riverside.

“We’re trying to work together, (have) more training with that,” he said.

The village board’s next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 5. That’s not the usual Monday meeting because the village hall will be closed on Labor Day, Sept. 4.

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