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Meet the City Virtual Event

Program Description: The City of Highland Park is committed to open dialogue around important issues of diversity and inclusion. Mayor Rotering, City Manager Ghida Neukirch, Chief Lou Jogmen, Commanders Gerald Cameron, Jenny Olson, and Chris O'Neill, Sergeant Sean Curran and Officer Pawel Geneja met with residents to share highlights of the City’s initiatives, practices and procedures, and address questions of residents. Due to COVID-19 health precautions, the meeting was held virtually on Thursday, October 8, 2020, at 7:00 PM via Zoom. This event provided highlights of the City's diversity and inclusion practices and programs, and more. Questions may be directed to the City Manager's Office at 847.926.1000.

Program Recording: Click here to view the recorded meeting on Zoom. When prompted, enter the password D?#^%mh4 

Q&A: Click here to download the Q&A document, which includes responses to questions that were not answered during the meeting due to time constraints

Panelist Biographies

City Manager Ghida Neukirch is a municipal leader and community advocate with more than 27 years of experience in local government management. As a first-generation proud American, having moved to the United States from Beirut, Lebanon in 1976, she is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and fairness for all.  The first female City Manager for the City of Highland Park, Neukirch directs the operations for the City, responsible for the management of an $85 MM budget and more than 250 employees. Neukirch has balanced 8 consecutive budgets and has ensured that the City maintains a Aaa bond rating, the highest bond rating available and a testament to sound financial planning and management. Neukirch serves on a broad range of professional, civic, and philanthropic boards and committees.  She is a Board Member of the Board Governors of Lake County Partners, Board Member and Past-President of the Rotary Club of Highland Park/Highwood, and a founder and Executive Board Member of Community the Anti-Drug (CTAD). She serves on the Board of the Northwest Municipal Conference representing Highland Park and more than forty municipalities in the region and is past-Treasurer of the organization. She is a Credentialed Manager by the International City/County Management Association and is a Past President of the Illinois City/County Management Association. 

Chief of Police Lou Jogmen graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Roosevelt University. Chief Jogmen began his law enforcement career in 1993 and has been the Chief of Police in Highland Park since 2018.  He is a Certified Police Chief through the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police credentialing program and currently serves on the Board of Officers, 2nd Vice President, for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Deputy Chief of Police Bill Bonaguidi is a 26-year veteran of the Highland Park Police Department. In his current capacity as Deputy Chief, Bonaguidi directly manages the department, supporting the Chief of Police who is charged with the overall management responsibility for the department. Previously, Bonaguidi served as Administrative Commander, Investigations Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, Field Training Officer, Detective, and Police Officer. Additional assignments include Firearms Instructor & Range Master, Precision Driving Instructor, Police/Fire Dive Rescue Team, and the HPPD Tactical Team. Bonaguidi holds a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Supervision and Management, and is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff & Command.

Commander Gerald Cameron began his service to the Highland Park Community as a Patrol Officer with the Police Department in January of 1980 shortly after receiving his Associates Degree in Law Enforcement (Criminal Justice) from Oakton Community College. During his career, Cameron has been assigned to every division within the department, both administrative and operational, in both first line and supervisory capacities. He was a founding member and also acted in supervisory roles on both the Police Department’s Tactical Team and Dive Rescue / Evidence Recovery Team and coordinated the agency’s firearms training unit for over 20 years. After Graduating from Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command in 2005, Cameron served as Commander in the Patrol Division until his appointment to the Investigations Division in 2008. In his current position Cameron oversees both the youth and adult sections of the division, and supervises felony and other complex investigations assigned to detectives.

Commander Chris O’Neill has served the Police Department for over thirty years in various capacities as a part-time Dispatcher, Police Officer, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Traffic Sergeant, and currently as a Police Patrol Commander. In his current capacity, O’Neill is charged with the overall leadership, supervision and administration of the Patrol Division. He has served on Police Department special teams, which include the Tactical Team, Police Rifle Marksman, Bicycle Unit Member & Supervisor, Crash Investigation Team Supervisor, Rapid Deployment Instructor, A.L.I.C.E. Instructor, CED Instructor, and CIT Team member.

Commander Jennifer Olson has served nearly 18 years with the Highland Park Police Department. She is currently the Administrative Commander, overseeing training and various other administrative functions. She has coordinated the past five Highland Park Citizens Police Academies and was the previous Supervisor of the Field Training program.

Sergeant Sean Curran began his law enforcement career as a Patrol Officer with the City of Highland Park in May of 2000. In ten years serving as Detective and later Detective Sergeant, Curran completed a variety of specialty assignments, including serving on the Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigating homicides and officer-involved shootings throughout the county, the Lake County Child Abduction Response Team, the Lake County Gang Team, the Illinois State Police Traveling Criminal Task Force, the Highland Park Senior Assistance Team, and the Highland Park Fire & Arson Team. A state-certified Lead Homicide Investigator and a state-certified Juvenile Officer, Curran was later promoted to Sergeant and then Administrative Sergeant, where he was responsible for the supervision of the Traffic Unit. In September of 2020, Sergeant Curran was transferred to the Investigations Unit, where he currently serves as the Investigations Sergeant. Curran has been awarded 24 Departmental Commendations, 6 Employee of the Quarter Awards, 53 Letters of Appreciation from the Public, and was nominated the Most Outstanding Recruit at the Chicago Police Academy. A 2018 graduate of Northwestern University Center for Public Safety’s School of Police Staff and Command, Curran is completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Oklahoma. 

Officer Pawel Geneja has served with the Highland Park Police Department for 5 years and is assigned to the night shift patrol division. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign double majoring in political science and Spanish and his Masters of Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Officer Geneja is a first generation Polish-American and is trilingual: being fluent in English, Spanish and Polish. His favorite part of the job is interacting with the community and hosting community events, which he has had the opportunity to do as one of the department’s Police Beat Coordinators.