Tom Aftanas is officially Forest Park chief of police. The village council unanimously approved his appointment at the June 8 meeting. Aftanas’ friends, family, and colleagues packed the council chambers to witness his swearing-in, administered by Mayor Anthony Calderone. Aftanas’ predecessor, Jim Ryan, was also present. Aftanas called the show of support “overwhelming” and repeatedly thanked those in attendance.
“I appreciate it so much” he said, “especially when the Blackhawks are playing.”
Calderone, on behalf of all the village commissioners, said he was thrilled by the appointment. “I feel all of the utmost confidence that you are going to continue to lead this police department on the foundation that it was built on with the experience that you had serving as the deputy chief of police for the last nine years.”
Aftanas’ promotion was expected. At the May 26 council meeting, Calderone said he would move forward with plans to install Aftanas as chief at the subsequent meeting. At the time, Commissioner Dan Novak said he wanted time to assess Aftanas and his accomplishments. Sometime last week, Aftanas submitted a resume to the council and the commissioners deliberated in a closed executive session preceding the June 8 meeting.
Joe Byrnes, commissioner of Accounts and Finance, told the Review that Aftanas’ resume was “very impressive” and specifically emphasized his extensive educational record and participation in the FBI Leadership Academy as highlights.
The 47-year-old Aftanas is a 27-year veteran of the police department and served as deputy chief since 2006. He has served as acting chief since Ryan’s retirement on May 14.
Although he originally intended to be an Illinois state trooper, a budget crisis caused Aftanas to begin working for Forest Park instead.
After two years in the community, Aftanas said he was offered the state trooper’s job, but he declined.
“I have never regretted it for two reasons: because of the people I work with and the town itself,” he said. “I love working here.”
“I promise to do the best job I can in maintaining a truly professional organization,” Aftanas concluded.