Ninth District/Deering Police Cmdr. Don Jerome takes charge
September 6, 2019

Ninth District Police Commander Don Jerome.

By Patrick Butler

Since taking the helm at the Ninth (Deering) Police District in May, Commander Don Jerome has had few surprises, thanks to working a variety of jobs in the Ninth District before his promotion and filling in frequently for his predecessor, Randall Darlin, who won promotion to area chief executive officer and reports directly to the area chief.

“We have a really good district,” Jerome noted, pointing to a 26% drop in homicides, a 20% reduction in reported shooting incidents, and 20% fewer reported robberies.

On the other hand, Jerome said, while “we’re happy, we know we can always do better. We’re not by any means taking our foot off the gas. There are still problems with street gangs, mostly conflicts over territory or drugs.”

Jerome credits much of the improvement to the community itself, adding, “I’ve never seen more community support than in this district, where people who see something aren’t hesitant to say something, be engaged in the community.”

So far as he is concerned, the district enjoys a strong partnership between the community and police officers Jerome works with, and he often works the streets himself.

“I like to go out and lead by example,” he said. “It fries me when I hear other commanders talking about the people who ‘work for them,’ rather than the people who work with them.”

While he said he holds “so much admiration for the people I work with,” he remains aware that “we make mistakes.” He believes “most of our mistakes are true mistakes, not deliberately ignoring the rules. If somebody screws up, they’ll be accountable to me, but they’ll learn from it, own it, and move on,” Jerome added.

Most are ‘good people’

While he has worked his share of tough neighborhoods during 25 years on the job, Jerome said he has learned enough about people to realize “there’s really only a small number of bad people out there. Most of the people, even in the bad neighborhoods, are just good people trying to survive and do good under hard times.”

He noted he has learned that, “if you’re not genuine with people—both officers and civilians—they’ll know it. So I try to be fair and honest with everyone.

“It works for me because I’ve never been a good BSer anyway,” he said, chuckling.

The 20-year Chicago Police Department veteran was honored at the White House in 2012 for his role in thwarting an armed robbery in progress, arresting two suspects who were holding six victims.

During that encounter, Jerome and one of the offenders crashed through a storefront window, but Jerome was able to hold the suspect until help arrived.

Darlin had headed up the Ninth District for about a year and a half before receiving his new assignment.

Darlin previously had served as a captain in the Englewood (Seventh) District, crediting his service there with giving him an expertise in fighting gang-related crime.

Jerome is the Ninth District’s seventh commander in the past seven years.

The Ninth Police District is located at 3120 S. Halsted St. Call (312) 747-8227.