There have been an awful lot of police chief retirements around these parts recently, the latest coming in Brookfield, where Ed Petrak is saying so long after a 31-year career that saw him rise through the ranks to the top spot in 2019.

A local guy who grew up in Riverside, Petrak displayed an affinity for the people he served in Brookfield and his soft-spoken demeanor and openness to dialogue ran counter to the tough-guy cop stereotype.

He was similar in that way to his immediate predecessor, Jim Episcopo, who was on hand July 12 to see the village board give his protégé a proper sendoff. Both men were calming presences in the village – Episcopo has lived through his career and in retirement in Brookfield – and that kind of steady leadership is valuable in times of uncertainty such as now.

While Petrak lives further out in the suburbs, he’s always maintained close ties to this area and we’re hearing he’ll continue to be a presence locally. That’s good news. More on that next week.

Brookfield’s next chief will be Mike Kuruvilla, also a thoughtful, disarming man whose very presence is unlike most police officers you’re likely to meet. His parents are Indian immigrants and he has a master’s degree in social work that served as his point of entry into policing as a crisis case worker.

He was early to recognize the changes under way in policing and has embraced the challenge of understanding the part mental health crises play in incidents to which police respond — that police work isn’t something boiled down to a simplistic question of good guys vs. bad guys.

Policing is complicated because people are complicated and often troubled. If there’s anyone around this area who can bring a sense of compassion to policing, we’d argue that person might look a lot like Mike Kuruvilla. 

At 38 years old, Kuruvilla still has a long career as a leader ahead of him. That’s a lot of pressure and also a lot of opportunity. We wish him and Petrak the best as they embark on their new journeys.

Fair’s fair

Homeowners can expect their second installment of 2020 property taxes to be delayed about a month. That’s not so much of a surprise. In past years, we’ve seen delays in mailing bills delayed longer than that, and other than causing taxing bodies a little heartburn due to cash flow issues, one thing’s for certain – those bills will eventually be sent.

This time around Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough says her office won’t calculate tax rates until the county assessor fixes errors in assigning senior homestead exemptions. That’s all fine, you don’t want people getting exemptions improperly.

We just hope the same goes for making sure owners of modest residential properties stop having to bear the burden of being over-assessed compared to big time commercial and luxury residential and multifamily properties, who always seem to get their assessments ratcheted way down.

There’s fair and then there’s fair. Are we going to have the political will to stand up to the donor class, too?