JEFFERSON PARK — The Far Northwest Side has a new police commander.
Heather Daniel has been appointed to take over as commander for the 16th District, which covers Jefferson Park, Dunning, Norwood Park, Gladstone Park, Portage Park and parts of Belmont Cragin and Sauganash.
Daniel was sworn into her role Wednesday with Supt. David Brown looking on.
“Commander Daniel brings more than two decades of service and experience to her new position,” Brown said in a statement. “I know she will exemplify the very best values of the Chicago Police Department as she begins the next step in her career on the city’s Northwest Side.”
Daniel has been with the department for 22 years and most recently was the commanding officer of the Bureau of Internal Affairs’ Consent Decree Compliance Section, police said.
She previously served as the commanding officer of Intergovernmental Affairs within the Office of the Superintendent and served as a sergeant in multiple police districts within the Bureau of Patrol. She also served as a patrol officer, an analyst for the Organized Crime Division and detective. She’s earned multiple department awards, according to 2013 profile on Daniel by the University of Chicago’s law department.
Daniel graduated from The John Marshall Law School in 2013 as her class valedictorian and had planned to leave police work for a law position in the public sector involving public policy development or litigation.
“Sometimes the police work is very dull but it can change in a second and you have to be prepared for it,” Daniel told the law department blog. “I love the police work, the running around like you see on TV. … But it also was an advantage in being able to put that field knowledge to work in law school.”
She passed the bar exam in 2013 and most recently was working at her own law firm in Portage Park called H Daniel LAW, according to multiple attorney directories.
Daniel also has a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and attended the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
She takes over for Maureen Biggane, who retired from the department last month after almost 30 years on the force. She was the 16th District commander since 2018, according to her LinkedIn profile. Like her successor, Biggane is an attorney and graduated from John Marshall in 2016 with high honors.
While the 16th District has some of the lowest crime numbers in the city, the area still saw an increase in carjackings, shootings and criminal sexual assaults since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Far Northwest Side has seen a 36 percent increase in serious crimes this year compared to the same time last year, according to district data, with robberies, aggravated battery and sexual assaults all trending up.
Public officials and district police officers have also been vocal about its low manpower, a citywide issue for all of the districts. The 16th District has 216 officers and supervisors, down from 233 at the beginning of the year, according to a city database.
All of the districts have seen a decrease in officers, but recruitment efforts have been underway by the department. Data shows that the department’s recruit and training section has 280 people, up from 130 at the beginning of the year.
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