Metra names interim police chief

Tribune reporter

A former deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department was named as Metra’s interim police chief Thursday, the commuter rail agency announced.

Harvey Radney, 68, replaces former Chief James Sanford, who retired from the Metra Police Department on Wednesday after more than three decades of service, Metra said.

Radney will serve as chief for two months as part of a 60-day, $100,000 contract with Hillard Heintze LLC, a Chicago-based law-enforcement advisory firm where Radney is a senior adviser.

Radney will report to interim Executive Director Don Orseno. Radney will plan, coordinate and direct the day-to-day activities of the 105-member department, Metra said.

Metra said Radney will continue to implement the recommendations of an assessment of the Metra Police Department that was completed by Hillard Heintze last year.

The report has never been released publicly by Metra. Spokesman Michael Gillis said the delay was due to Metra’s lack of a full board of directors until October.

Six new members joined the board after the controversy over the ouster of Alex Clifford, whose departure in June cost the agency hundreds of thousands of dollars in a controversial severance deal.

“We wanted to give the new board members time to get oriented before releasing the report. We are going to release it soon,” Gillis said.

The contract also calls for Hillard Heintze to assist Metra with the hiring of a permanent police chief.

A contract between Metra and the police union, Bolingbrook-based Metropolitan Alliance of Police, expired April 1, 2012, but police have continued to work under its terms.

Last June, Metra declared a “safety initiative,” boosting police foot patrols and cutting back on the time officers spend on duty in vehicles. Officials denied the move was aimed at pressuring police during the contract standoff. | Twitter: @richwronski 

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