By Dan Campana
As Bartonville Police Chief Brian Fengel took over as president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the law enforcement veteran vowed to build on the organization’s momentum in service to its 1,300 members across the state.
Fengel was sworn in Friday in Peoria as the ILACP’s 70th president and the first from Peoria County. He thanked his family and Bartonville colleagues for their ongoing support over the years and ahead of his one-year term at the association’s helm. Fengel even surprised his 90-year-old father – a World War II Navy veteran – by asking the room to recognize him, which they did with a standing ovation.
“(My parents) taught me to work hard and treat people the way they’d want to be treated, and do what’s right,” Fengel said after taking the oath of office.
Fengel has done just that based on the number of accomplishments he’s achieved, ranging from leadership roles with several law enforcement organizations to recognition for working with seniors. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Illinois Central College.
In acknowledging many of the current challenges facing police departments, Fengel promised to maintain a strong legislative presence in a climate that includes a mix of proposed laws which could have either a positive or negative on law enforcement.
“Now, more than ever, we need a strong voice … one voice for all of us,” said Fengel, who has spent two decades as chief as part of a 30-year career.
ILACP will continue to partner with the Illinois NAACP on 10 shared principles designed to build trust between the police and minority communities, according to Fengel, who credited Oak Brook Police Chief and outgoing President James Kruger for his efforts to bring the organizations together on this first-of-its-kind initiative.
Further, Fengel cited ILACP’s financial stability as a key priority, while also citing training and educational opportunities as “vital” to growth and the ability to face down challenges.
“We are 1,300 members strong across the state, and I want to ensure this organization is addressing issues on the state level that each department could not do on its own,” he said.
Fengel is a candidate for Peoria County Sheriff and, if elected, would be allowed to continue as ILACP president based on association bylaws. As Fengel begins his term, Kruger reflected on his time at the association’s helm.
“I have enjoyed every minute of it, and as I turn over the gavel, it is my hope that I left the association a little better than when I got here,” Kruger said in prepared remarks before quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. “The reward of a thing well done is having done it. I have been rewarded beyond my imagination this past year serving as your president and giving back to our honorable profession.”