Lake Forest Appoints New Chief of Police

James E. Held named new Chief of Police at Sept. 17 City Council Meeting

Courtesy of Susan Banks and the Citizens Communications Center

Lake Forest Mayor Jim Cowhey announced the appointment of James E. Held as the new Chief of Police for The City of Lake Forest at the September 17 City Council meeting.  In making the announcement, Cowhey said, “We are extremely pleased to promote Jim Held to Police Chief and look forward to his leadership in encouraging police participation in the community as well as continuing to maintain our low crime rate." 

Chief Held comes into this top position after serving more than 27 years with the Lake Forest Police Department.  He joined the force in 1985 as a patrol officer and investigator, a position he held until 1999.  During the next 13 years, he served the department as a Sergeant and Commander, was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2011 and most recently has served as the Acting Chief of Police since May of this year. 

Following the September 17 City Council meeting, Jim Held stated, “I am honored to have this opportunity. As Police Chief, my intent is to promote community policing, fostering positive interactions between the Police Department and all members of the community.  My goal is to maintain Lake Forest as one of the safest communities in Illinois.” 

Chief Held immediately assumes his new role as head of the 55 member department.  A nation-wide selection process was conducted following the announcement of Police Chief Joe Buerger’s retirement.  

The Lake Forest City Council and Executive Staff were committed to finding the best candidate for this position.  The City received 112 resumes from 26 states which were narrowed down to 6 finalists, who participated in a rigorous all-day assessment center. It was determined that two candidates were highly qualified, one internal and one external.  An intensive evaluation process followed involving community leaders, elected officials and City staff.  After reviewing the assessment information and interviewing the candidates, the Mayor and representatives of the City Council made the final selection. 

Jim and his wife Kelly have two grown sons, both of whom will be inducted into the U.S. Air Force within the next few months.  Kelly works in Lake Forest at Price Insurance and is a member of the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce. They reside in Libertyville and are active members of the Lake Forest community.

Stevie Janowski September 18, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Make sure to keep enforcing the speeding tickets! Also great job in getting down that cat from a tree, but that was a joint effort with the LFFD!!
JTW September 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I know Jim Held. I have had the pleasure to work with Jim in the past, as well as many of the other officers and brass at LFPD. Jim knows this community, respects the community and it's residents, and has over the years established himself as a top notch law enforcement officer. I am glad to see the City, after an extensive search, pulled from their own ranks to lead the LFPD. Everyone associated with the City of Lake Forest should be excited and supportive of this selection. Best of luck to you and your family Jim. You have certainly earned this honor.


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