Metra hires new chief to reform its police force

CHICAGO – Metra has hired a new police chief to overhaul the force that’s in charge of protecting the nation’s second-largest commuter rail agency.

Metra announced Monday it had chosen Joseph Perez, a 28-year Illinois State Police veteran.

A consulting firm hired to review the force released a report last year describing Metra’s police department as “antiquated” and beset by a lack of leadership and mission. Findings included ineffective policies, excessive overtime expenses and a lack of firearms training.

Perez will be in charge of enforcing the report’s recommendations.

He became a trooper in 1986 and served in roles that included the state police’s SWAT team and a unit combating gangs and drugs.

Most recently, he was a commander in charge of 800 officers in the six counties in the Chicago area.