SOUTH HOLLAND | New South Holland Police Chief Greg Baker said he relishes both the opportunities and the challenges that his new position present.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work as police chief in South Holland,” Baker told The Times in an interview Wednesday afternoon. “I have been here as deputy chief for three years, and I have had the opportunity to get to know the outstanding people that work in this department. One of the huge advantages I have is working with the most competent and caring law enforcement group I have been in contact with.”
Baker came to the South Holland Police Department from Riverdale, where he had been police chief for three years. He was the first African-American police chief in Riverdale.
After filling the role of deputy chief in South Holland for three years, Baker was appointed as chief when Warren Millsaps retired at the end of 2012.
Baker said he will definitely continue and possibly expand the Community Policing program.
“We want to continue to make our law enforcement officials readily accessible to the residents of South Holland,” Baker said. “The meetings allow our officers the opportunity to get to know the residents and vice versa.”
Baker said the uniqueness of South Holland helps to keep crime rates lower than other south suburbs.
“We do not have apartment buildings, and we do not have alcohol sales,” he said. “That helps a lot with certain elements.”
But he said there still are many challenges for his department.
“The criminal element is very different than it was even 10 years ago,” he said. “Guns and violence are much more prevalent now. So is domestic terrorism. Law enforcement officials have to be on the watch for so many different activities now.”
Baker, a graduate of Northwestern University's School of Staff and Command, has nearly 30 years experience in law enforcement, including progressive command-level responsibilities. Baker started his career as an officer in Park Forest.
The Village Board unanimously approved his appointment on Monday. He also had unanimous support from the village's Public Safety Committee.
“We as an administration, in concurrence with a unanimous Village Board, are excited to have Chief Baker move into the chief’s position in our Police Department,” Village Administrator Jason Huisman told The Times. “Greg has been extremely effective as a deputy chief since August 2009, and his nearly 30 years of experience have paid dividends since joining the team.
“Greg is a man of integrity,” Huisman continued, “and he is passionate about our village and its values.”
Baker has been a member of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) since 2002, and is vice president of the Chicago Chapter of NOBLE. Baker is also NOBLE Region IV vice president, where he presides over chapters in nine Midwestern states.
Baker is on the executive board of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, past vice president of the South Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police and current chairman of several committees of ILACP and SSACOP.
He has been married more than 35 years, has three adult children and six grandchildren.