The 14th District police commander position remains open more than a month after it was left vacant on Jan. 9, when former Cmdr. Francis “Frank” Valadez was transferred to the 10th District. Valadez served the Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park district for the past two years.
“To be honest, it’s going to be a promotion from within, made by police Supt. [Garry F.] McCarthy,” a source at the News Affairs headquarters of the Chicago Police Department said on Monday, Feb. 9. “Once McCarthy decides he’s found the appropriate replacement, that’s when they’ll move forward.”
The 14th District falls in the 32nd Ward under Ald. Scott Waguespack.
Waguespack says it’s “standard” for a district to go without a commander for weeks or months with a police captain on the watch. That’s just the case in the 14th District, as Capt. Marc Buslik has served as interim commander since Valadez’s last day.
“We’re not a district that, I think, over the years, people perceive as a high-crime area,” Waguespack says. “We have a lot of issues but it’s not like the district that [Valadez] went to.”
Valadez’s new district, serving the Ogden region of Little Village, has seen a 5 percent increase in crime in January 2015 compared to January 2014, while the 14th District has seen a 23 percent decrease, according to CPD crime statistics.
Waguespack says he believes that Logan Square does have its “particular intricacies” that make it a unique area to cover compared to its district partners of Bucktown and Wicker Park.
“One is demographics,” Waguespack says. “Basically, you have a more diverse area in Logan Square than in Bucktown or Wicker Park. Two, Logan Square’s got bigger, wide-open areas that need to be covered.”
Waguespack says that he worked closely with Valadez over the past two years, and appreciated his commitment to open communication and active participation.
“I think he had a great rapport with his officers, and he made sure they communicated with us,” Waguespack says, adding that Valadez frequently showed up in court and at CAPS meetings to advocate for the district.
“He was on the scene a lot. He was working late at night, and then you’d see him again the next day,” Waguespack says. “He was very engaged but also a good listener.
“He was one of the best I’ve seen in recent years.”
Photo: Jamie Lynn Ferguson