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Number of police commanders skyrocket on Cicero force

Cicero Police Commander Lawrence Polk

Cicero Police Commander Lawrence Polk

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Updated: August 22, 2013 6:03AM

Larry Dominick promised to bury Al Capone’s criminal legacy in Cicero.

Now, he’s shown a commitment to law and order by minting eight new police commanders — up from only two, records show.

It’s a 400 percent commander expansion that includes a former bodyguard for imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich who was disciplined after allegations of misconduct; a longtime town politico and the son of a former Cicero police chief who went to prison for bilking the town out of millions.

It’s all part of a restructuring plan more than a year in the making and discussed at town board meetings, Cicero’s police chief said in a statement.

And it meant all but one of the eight men, and a ninth already serving as a commander, got hefty pay raises weeks after Dominick was re-elected town president in late February, records show. Seven of them were promoted April 9.

In comparison, Aurora got rid of one commander to save money during 2010’s hard economic times, a spokesman said. The state’s second-largest city now has three. Cicero’s neighbor Berwyn has nine. The Chicago Police Department budgets for 47 in its 12,500-officer force.

Cicero Chief Bernard Harrison said his department’s manpower is at its highest level ever, and he plans more hiring. He said the promotions were based on experience and ability — most of the men were made watch commanders — and he said the move will help battle gangs.

The commanders, who either couldn’t be reached or wouldn’t comment, and their annual base pay as reflected in public records are:

◆ Vincent Acevez: One of four cops accused of storming a home and beating its residents in 2003. The case was settled recently for nearly $12 million. Now in charge of the gang crimes unit. Annual base pay: $108,375 (up 12 percent from $96,468).

◆ Alfred Auriemma: Promoted from patrolman. Annual base pay: $108,375 (up 35 percent from $80,231).

◆ Francisco Diaz: Annual base pay: $108,375 (up 10 percent from $98,398).

◆ Patrick McGee: Worked nearly 32 years with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police, demoted in Cicero from first deputy superintendent to commander in charge of training. Annual base pay: $105,000 (no change).

◆ Raul Perez: Former Illinois State Police officer assigned to Blagojevich’s detail. He was disciplined for failing to report the governor’s driver had been drinking and was investigated after facing questions about accidents with state vehicles and a state police patch he’d allegedly given a motorist. Annual base pay: $75,000 (up 34 percent from $55,825).

◆ Lawrence Polk: President of the Cicero Public School District 99 school board. He’s been noted as a top DUI cop in the state. Annual base pay: $108,375 (up 11 percent from $97,723).

◆ Dominic Schullo: The son of former police chief Emil Schullo, who went to prison for splitting kickbacks on town contracts with a reputed Cicero mob chief and a former convicted town president. Annual base pay: $108,375 (up 40 percent from $77,489).

◆ Eugene Talsma: Annual base pay: $108,375 (up 8 percent from $100,365).

Existing commander Edward Lyman’s pay also went up 23 percent to $108,375. The other existing commander, Lewis Garcia, did not get a pay raise. His pay remained at $65,975.

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