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Champaign PD announces new Chief of Police and partnership with University of Illinois

Champaign police crime scene tape set up at Green and Second Streets after shots were reported fired in late August 2021.

CHAMPAIGN – A Colonel in the Illinois State Police is the new Chief of Police in the city of Champaign.

Timothy T. Tyler is currently the Director/Chief of Police for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Law Enforcement in Springfield, Illinois.

On Wednesday, City Manager Dorothy Ann David announced Timothy T. Tyler will become the new chief on June 6, 2022. Tyler’s starting annual salary will be $180,000.

At a Wednesday morning news conference announcing his appointment, Tyler said filling vacancies in the department would be one of his priorities as Champaign police chief.

“This department has a long legacy of community-based policing,” said Tyler, “and we need to address our staffing issues so that we can get back to fully engaging with our residents, youth, neighborhoods and business community members.”

Champaign City Manager Dorothy David says the city had 19 vacancies in its police department, but the hiring of Tyler as police chief reduces the number to 18. She says the city has hired nine new police officers since January 1st.  David says the city has stepped up efforts to fill police vacancies by instituting a continuous hiring process, and a lateral incentive program that provides financial incentives for officers who come over to the Champaign Police from other police departments.

Tyler said he was also committed to addressing gun violence in Champaign, through implementation of the Community Gun Violence Reduction Blueprint, which the city council approved in February. 

“I will be present and accessible throughout the city because I need to understand what you need and expect from the police department,” said Tyler. “I want to assure you that community safety is and will remain my highest priority. And we will work actively with all members of the communities to address gun violence.”

Tyler is currently a Colonel with the Illinois State Police. Since 2020, he has served as the Director/Chief of Police for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement. 

Tyler has also served more than 30 years in the US Army in combat and humanitarian deployments during Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. He is currently a Colonel in the Army Reserves.

Before joining the ISP in 1998, he served as an officer in the Markham, Illinois police department.

Tyler was chosen over two other finalists to succeed Anthony Cobb, a former Urbana assistant police chief who served as Champaign police chief from 2012 until 2021. Cobb left to take a position with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. Cobb was Champaign’s first African-American police chief; Tyler will be the second.

Deputy Chief Tom Petrilli has been serving as Champaign’s interim police chief since Cobb’s departure.

New partnership with U of I Police

On the same day of the new chief’s announcement, the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign said it has a new partnership between the university’s police department and Champaign PD.

In an email to the entire university community, UIUC Chancellor Robert J. Jones says UIPD will begin responding to calls in a portion of Campustown, previously serviced by Champaign officers. UIPD will assume jurisdictional responsibility for the area bordered by Springfield Avenue on the north, Wright Street on the east, Windsor Avenue on the south and Neil Street on the west.

City Manager David told reporters Wednesday that the new partnership, approved by the Champaign City Council Wednesday night, builds on a long tradition of cooperation between the two police departments.

“So when someone calls 911, because they need a police officer, it’s going to be seamless to the person in the community who needs the service,” said David at the city news conference. “The right people are going to be dispatched and we are going to make sure that everybody is coordinated and communicating well.”

The agreement will allow UIPD to add seven new officers and Champaign to concentrate on other parts of the community. The city of Champaign will reimburse the university annually to fund those officers. The university will cover training, vehicle and equipment costs.

The new agreement begins October 1, 2022 and will continue for at least two years.

(This story has been expanded and updated – JM 4/20/22 5:55 PM)

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