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By MIKE SANDROLINI
MAYWOOD | Although the Village of Maywood had its first homicide of 2017 along with a second shooting within five days of each other last week (see Shootings later in this report), there is good news.
The number of homicides in the village during 2016 dropped noticeably, compared to 2015. There were five homicides last year—four of which were murders—while in 2015, the village experienced 13homicides. That 2016 figure equals the number of homicides in 2007. Furthermore, it’s the lowest number since Val Talley took over as police chief in December of 2013. There were seven homicides in 2014, and as previously mentioned, 13 in 2015. Talley attributes the drop in the amount of homicides first and foremost to “the hard work of our officers.”
“Over the last three years we got 11 new officers, and those officers have been mentored by our older officers,” he said. “We have a lot of young officers out there responding to crimes and acting on issues. It’s good to have new officers because the older officers get reinvigorated with doing things so all the officers have just really come together and worked really hard.” Another factor, Talley said, is that police have increased their visibility around the village. “We’ve had very good visibility,” he said. “That was one of the major complaints from citizens: that they just didn’t see enough police cars. So now we have a lot of marked squad cars that are out there. So that has kept it (number of homicides) down.”
The reason for that increased presence is because the police department has added 11 squad cars. It got three due to a grant from Cook County, three from the village and five from assets seized from drug dealers.
“We get a portion of that,” said Talley, referring to the seized assets.
“We had enough in our portion that we were able to buy some gently used vehicles.” The Maywood Police Department also has been working cooperatively with the Bellwood and Broadview police departments, as well as with the FBI. “We have a cooperative relationship with both Bellwood and Broadview,” Talley said.
“We have an organized strategy where we work together under a memorandum of understanding so that we can really have crime repression. That’s what we’re doing—crime repression. The last thing is that we cooperatively work with the FBI. They had a very large sting operation where they had a very strong impact on some of the major gangs in town.”
A shooting on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 8, claimed the life of a 20-year-old man from Oakbrook Terrace, while a Maywood resident was wounded during a shooting that occurred at around 7 p.m. last Friday, according to police.
Police said Rommell Harris was a passenger in the front seat of a vehicle that was parked outside the home of a friend in the 400 block of 14th Avenue. Two other friends of Harris’ also were in the vehicle when an unknown car drove up. A suspect inside that car fired multiple shots, striking Harris. Harris was taken to Loyola University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The two individuals inside the vehicle were not injured.
“Our detectives are still investigating,” said Maywood Police Lt. Dennis Diaz.
The second incident took place in the 2000 block of S. 4th Ave. on Jan. 13. Police said Jordan Hrbrowski, 19, was sitting inside a vehicle with three other individuals in someone’s driveway. An unknown suspect fired multiple shots into the car, with Hrbrowski being shot several times in the leg.
The victim was taken to Loyola University Medical Center and was released from there the same night, Diaz said. This shooting also is under investigation. Anyone with information on either shooting is encouraged to call (708) 450-4470.