Excitement buzzed through the city council chambers Friday afternoon, as Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez was proudly announce the five new additions to the police department.
For Police Chief Charles Guiliani, this is his first hire. He noted the inclusion of two veterans among the five new officers.
"We're excited to add five more police officers on the street," said Guiliani. "Two of those officers served our country and will now be serving on our streets."
The city received a grant from the Federal Department of Justice to hire the veterans.
As each young man was sworn in by deputy clerk, Rachel Vega, Gonzalez stood by his side. Listed, are the five men who took the oath:
- Petros Visvardis
- Mohammad S. Matatiyeh
- Ryan M. Kolk
- Justin A. Boehl
- Travis J. Hitzelburger
According to Guiliani, four of the officers begin training at a Chicago police academy while Visvardis begins duty this week. Visvardis, who came from South Chicago Heights, was excited to get started.
"Today is my sixth anniversary as a police officer," Visvardis said. "What a great way to celebrate, by joining the Chicago Heights department. This is a dream come true."
One by one, each officer received hugs and congratulations from family and friends. Hitzelburger told Patch, "I'm happy to be part of the team." Marine veteran Justin Boehl added, "This is an honor and privilege."
Matatiyeh summed up what all the new officers were showing. "I couldn't be more excited and happy," he said. "This has been a lot of hard work."We're ready to go."
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