FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) ----- After 26 years on the job, one of Freeport’s finest is hanging up his badge.
"It's not all about writing tickets, it's not all about throwing the book. It's about relationships, it's about problem solving, it's about neighborhoods," said Barkalow.
In just a few short weeks, police Chief Todd Barkalow will retire, after close to thirty years of public service.
"Did I ever think I would be the police chief? No, I never thought that, even until just recently, I honestly didn't think that that was in the plans, but you know, that's really how God unfolded it for me, I truly believe that," said Barkalow.
After years as a teacher, Barkalow says he took a chance on fulfilling a lifelong dream.
"Growing up, I never liked bullies, I never liked bullies, I always felt myself standing up for the little guy. That was always something in my heart, I think that's what really kind of attracted me to this," said Barkalow.
Through his tenure, the department has seen a transformation, including the use of body cameras and the creation of the first Special Victims Unit.
"It shouldn't go unmentioned that, in addition to these extra things that he did so well, he also did the day-to-day things absolutely wonderfully and we're certainly going to miss him an awful lot," said Carl Larson, Stephenson County State’s Attorney.
"The carousel doesn't stop, you know, and so, even though I'm kind of transitioning out, there's still business to be run," said Barkalow.
Chief Barkalow looks forward to spending more time with his family after he retires on August 2nd.