Sgt. Thomas Aftanas was sworn in as Deputy Chief of the Forest Park Police Department on Monday night, ending a two-year vacancy in the position.

Aftanas, who has served with the police department since September of 1991, was working as the supervisor of the department’s detective division before receiving the promotion.

“When I started here in August, 2003, [Aftanas] was a patrol supervisor on the midnight shift. It was obvious to me then that he dealt with people extremely well on all levels,” said Police Chief James Ryan.

“He’s run major investigations, and has been willing to come in any time of the day. He frequently puts work ahead of his family. I’m sure he wound up missing a few Little League games because of that,” he added.

As deputy chief, Aftanas will be expected to supervise the department in Ryan’s absence and to assist in managing major improvement projects and in conducting internal investigations and disciplinary matters.

Ryan said he hopes that having some assistance at the helm of the department will free up time for him “to get more involved in the community.”

Lt. Steve Knack and Detective Pete Morrissette will now lead the detective division, though no formal replacement for Aftanas will be appointed, according to Ryan.

Nearly the entire police department, along with the fire department, joined Aftanas’ family at village hall for the swearing-in ceremony during Monday night’s village council meeting.

Aftanas thanked his colleagues at the police department, as well as his classmates at Northwestern’s 10-week School of Police Staff and Command, from which he graduated last Friday.

“The main reason I’m here tonight is because of every member of the police department I’ve worked with over the years,” he said. “The only person not here tonight that I wish was, is Mike Luisi,” he said, referring to the 18-year officer who died of cancer in 2004.

Before Aftanas, the deputy chief post was most recently held by Lt. Steve Weiler, who was preceded by Lt. Steve Johnsen and Lt. Michael Cody.