Veteran cop recommended as Aurora's next deputy chief

  • Co-workers congratulate Aurora police Lt. Keefe Jackson on Wednesday after he was nominated to become the department's next deputy chief.

      Co-workers congratulate Aurora police Lt. Keefe Jackson on Wednesday after he was nominated to become the department's next deputy chief. Robert Sanchez photo | Staff Photographer

  • Aurora police Lt. Keefe Jackson talks Wednesday about being nominated to become the department's next deputy chief.

      Aurora police Lt. Keefe Jackson talks Wednesday about being nominated to become the department's next deputy chief. Robert Sanchez photo | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/27/2016 6:07 PM

Growing up in the Robert Taylor Homes on Chicago's South Side, Keefe Jackson never thought his path out of the projects would lead him to a successful career in law enforcement.

"I got my degree in economics and my plan was to work in a corporate environment," Jackson said Wednesday after being tapped to become the next deputy chief of the Aurora Police Department.

 

But while he was in grad school, Jackson "just by happenstance" took a job with the Kane County Sheriff's Office.

After being exposed to law enforcement, he fell in love with the profession. In April 1995, he joined the Aurora police force.

Now he's a city council vote away from becoming second-in-command of the state's second-largest police department.

"This is an exciting time for the Aurora Police Department in ushering in a new era of leadership," Jackson said of his pending promotion and the selection of two new commanders -- Michael Doerzaph and Keith Cross. "While it's going to be a new adventure for us and a new challenge, it's one that we accept. And it's one that we're excited in pursuing."

In announcing Jackson's nomination, police Chief Kristen Ziman talked about some of the highlights of Jackson's 21-year career with Aurora.

Jackson, 49, has worked in patrol, special operations (gangs and vice) and field training and is a former member of the department's Special Response Team, a SWAT equivalent.

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He also was an investigator with the Illinois State Police North Central Narcotics Task Force, served on the Aurora Police Honor Guard, and coordinated his department's Crisis Intervention Team.

Jackson, who was promoted to sergeant in 2004 and lieutenant in 2010, currently oversees the Office of Professional Standards, which investigates internal and external complaints involving Aurora police employees.

"His leadership skills match with his deep sense of community and passion for our city and our citizens," said Ziman, who was named chief earlier this month.

In addition to his contributions to Aurora, Jackson is a retired captain with the U.S. Army National Guard, officials said.

He served as a commissioned officer for 23 years, including deployment in Iraq where he was awarded the Bronze Star.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Lt. Jackson's broad spectrum of experience has provided him with a unique set of leadership qualities that I believe will serve the Aurora Police Department and the residents of Aurora extremely well," Mayor Tom Weisner said.

The city council will consider Jackson's appointment Tuesday night.

Jackson said the department is committed to bridging the gap between itself and the community.

"We want to make sure that there's a firm understanding of some of the actions that we take," he said.

He also said officers will go into the community "to talk with people, to develop those partnerships and continue to build those relationships we currently have."

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