After a nationwide search that began in July, Demitrous Cook was announced as the new Evanston Chief of Police on Dec.11. Cook will take over for the current Evanston Chief of Police, Richard Eddington, starting Jan. 2, 2019.
Since 2010, Cook has served as the Glenwood Police Chief. Before that time, Cook served as part of the Evanston Police Department (EPD) for 26 years.
Cook held various positions within the EPD, such as working for the Northwestern Police Department from 1981-1984 and working as an EPD patrol officer from 1984-2010. Additionally, Cook spent six years as the Evanston Police Department Deputy Chief of Police.
One of Cook’s goals as the new police chief is “to connect with community who have not had previous access to the police chief,” Deputy Evanston City Manager Kimberly Richardson explained.
Junior Kayla Henning wants Cook to “create that community aspect between the police officers, the police department and the citizens.”
“My goal is to get down to the root cause of the issues in this town that cause mistrust with the police department…and try to make change that’s positive for the whole city,” Cook told the Evanston Patch.
Besides serving as the Glenwood police chief, Cook has held a variety of other leadership positions including as president of the South Suburban Emergency Response Team and as vice president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Chicago Metropolitan Chapter.
Leadership, community connections and vision were among the main characteristics the City Manager’s Office was looking for new police chief to possess.
“I think the relationship and ties with your community are the most important thing, but being a person of color can definitely have an added benefit,” Henning said.
Five top candidates were selected to interview with four different panels. Cook was consistently the top choice for the position.
“He sold the panel, sold the interview and sold the city manager,” Richardson said.
Richardson views the response to Cook’s appointment as overwhelmingly positive. After the official announcement, many community members went to welcome him back to Evanston.
“Evanston’s a unique town… so I do think it is important that he has served here and knows the vibe of the town,” senior Siena Prokopenko said.
The City of Evanston encourages all community members, especially youth, to engage with Cook once he begins as the new police chief.