Park Ridge sergeant steps up
Park Ridge Police Sgt. Greg Taylor | Jennifer Johnson~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:22PM
PARK RIDGE — Greg Taylor, a police officer with the Park Ridge Police Department since 1988, is getting used to a new role and a whole new set of responsibilities.
Recently promoted to the rank of sergeant, he now supervises the patrol officers he once worked alongside.
Over the course of his career, Taylor, the son of a police chief, has taken on multiple tasks in addition to his regular Park Ridge patrol duties, including that of an evidence technician with the Major Case Assistance Team where officers from multiple police agencies investigate significant crimes, largely homicides.
Q: How is your new position different from being a patrol officer?
A: It’s extremely different from being on the street as patrol. In addition to keeping track of what’s going on on the street, there’s a huge number of administrative responsibilities and supervisory tasks that have to be performed and fulfilled. It’s very much a juggling act. It’s time management, personnel management and then management on the streets. I rely heavily on the shift to know what they’re doing and to do the right thing, which makes it much easier for me.
Q: Was this a promotion for which you volunteered?
A: I’ve been striving towards getting promoted to the rank of sergeant for years. Emphasis on years (laughs).
Q: So how did it feel when it finally happened?
Q: Why was this something you wanted?
A: When I got hired in Park Ridge 1988, in my oral interview they asked, “How high do you want to go?” I knew then I wanted to be a sergeant. Now, whether or not I’m going to stay a sergeant, I don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’ve always wanted to be a first-line supervisor. I’ve always wanted to be the go-to for the officers on the street and the buffer for them from the administration. And now I’m there.
Q: You’ve had a number of roles within the department. Which one did you enjoy the most?
A: My first and strongest love was the (gun) range. Then came forensics work and though my forensics work I got into MCAT (the Major Case Assistance Team) which I will miss the most. I had to give up MCAT when I got promoted. It’s bittersweet, but I understand in order to progress, sacrifices have to be made.
Q: What will you miss about it?
A: First of all, the work. They’re violent crimes, they are major cases, and more often than not it involves murder cases or death investigations. That’s about as high-end as you’re going to get, not just for police work, but for the victims. Working on those levels of cases always forces everyone involved to bring their best game. I’m also going to miss the men and women I worked with because they are a great group of people. ... You build strong, deep bonds working with people on such horrific scenes.
Q: You’ve investigated some horrific crimes. How do you deal with that?
A: For me, I adapt by focusing on the victims or the survivors of the victims in the cases of a murder or homicide. You’re not just doing the work for the victim; you’re doing the work for the victim’s family, for the survivors. If you keep your eyes on the horizon that way, it makes it a lot easier to deal with it and keep working through it, with the end game being the apprehension and the conviction. It’s the classic good guys chasing down the bad guys.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of your new job?
A: Not doing the work. As a supervisor with MCAT I learned that the supervisor’s job is to delegate or make sure the job is being done and not to do it (yourself). That was a huge hurdle for me to cross. I’m experiencing it again now. I want to go to that call, I want to fire up the lights and siren and catch the bad guy. But it’s not my job anymore. Yes, we can do that in certain situations, but by and large the rule of thumb is the patrolmen will handle that.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: I love spending time with my kids. I enjoy shooting sports of a number of varieties, whether it’s combat pistol shooting, cowboy action shooting or precision rifle shooting. I also enjoy classic cars. When I had more time I used to do road rally racing at an amateur level. I really enjoy movies or reading good books. I usually have two or three books going at any one time.
Q: There’s a lot of talk today about gun safety and gun restrictions. Where do you stand on this issue?
A: I feel that we have enough, if not too many, gun laws already. I feel that the law-abiding public, the citizens of this great country, are the only ones being hurt by all the restrictions we already have, not to mention what they want to push forward. I think that people demonize the tool, which is the weapon of whatever type, instead of the acts of the individual holding it.