Richard Eddington.

Former Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington will return to serve as interim police chief upon the retirement of interim chief Aretha Barnes on Jan. 3.

Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski announced Eddington’s appointment this morning.

Eddington, who served as Evanston police chief from 2007 through 2018, has more than 44 years of law enforcement experience.

“Chief Eddington is a proven leader with a deep understanding of the Evanston community and the Evanston Police Department,” Gandurski said in a statement. “I appreciate him returning to Evanston to fill this critical position as the City undertakes to fill the role of a permanent police chief.”

During Eddington’s time as chief, major crimes reported each year to the FBI decreased nearly 40%.

Eddington also worked to strengthen Evanston’s police-community partnership, reinstituting foot patrol, providing de-escalation training for all officers and implementing the department’s body-worn camera program.

He also oversaw the inception of the Officer and Gentlemen Academy youth mentoring program and the reestablishment of the Evanston Police Department Explorers program, building relationships and rapport with Evanston youth.

Eddington began his career as a police officer for the Village of Roselle in 1974, rising to the rank of police chief in 1991.

In 2001, he was hired as external chief of police for the Village of Mount Prospect to resolve a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of racial profiling.

There, he instituted reforms that led to reaching a Memorandum of Understanding with the DOJ. After completing his service in Mount Prospect, Eddington was hired to become Evanston’s police chief in 2007.

Since retiring from the Evanston Police Department at the end of 2018, Eddington has served as a vice president at GovHR, a public sector consulting firm.

Eddington holds a master’s degree in law enforcement administration from Western Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration from Loyola University.

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is designated as a retired certified chief by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.