Latest posts by Kevin Beese (see all)
- Law firm’s fees rile Broadview board - September 5, 2017
- Broadview puts lobbyist on payroll despite past scandal - September 5, 2017
- One of village’s own leads Police Department - September 2, 2017
Kevin Eugling knows the streets his Broadview officers patrol quite well.
They were streets he walked as a youth and patrolled as an officer himself. Now Eugling is responsible for the safety of those streets as the village’s chief of police.
“It’s like a dream come true. It really is,” said the village’s new police chief. “It’s very exciting. I’ve received nothing but support from the administration all the way to the officers. It’s been great.”
A graduate of Lindop and Proviso East High schools, and Triton College, Eugling has risen through the ranks during his 26 years with the Broadview Police Department. As chief, he wants the department’s officers to be more active with youth in the community.
“I would like to see some type of Explorer program on the police side. We do have it on the fire side,” Eugling said. “I think we could do it here. If not an Explorer program, then something similar to get involved with the youth.”
Explorer programs provide individuals who have completed sixth grade through age 20 hands-on experience in law enforcement, or fire science and emergency services. Eugling said getting youths interested in law enforcement and just giving them a positive outlet for their energy is so important.
“Especially growing up here, I know how it is,” the chief said. “You’ve got to keep youths busy. There might be some interest out there with the youths too that we don’t know about. We have a couple plans that we’ve made that we are going to try to introduce to get the youths a little more involved.” He said older officers stopping by and talking to him and his friends when they were hanging out as kids had a positive impact on him. He wants that same positive experience for the Broadview children and teens of today.
“You get to see the police officers in a different light. They are people,” Eugling said. “That’s how I want to be with the children of the community too. I want them to see a police officer, but not just someone carrying a badge or as a bad guy. I want them to see that you can talk to them. I love seeing the children waving at me and the parents waving at me as I go by.”
When he started as an officer with the Broadview department, he worked with many of the officers who had come by and talked with him and his buddies in their youth. He said those officers showed him nothing but respect when he joined the force. When not overseeing the village’s Police Department, Eugling is often attending or watching sporting events on TV.
“My Cubs won the World Series, finally, after 108 years,” he said, with a smile. “A group of us years ago used to always go to Opening Day whether it was the Sox or the Cubs.” The father of three boys, Eugling said it is tough balancing family and the job, but noted that having a family on board with his profession helps. “As chief of police, I’m expected to be at meetings. I’m expected to be at functions, but my wife and my children are very supportive and understanding,” Eugling said. He said police are much more under the microscope today then when he began his law enforcement career. He said with cameras on cell phones – and the officers wearing body cameras themselves – everything officers do is watched and critiqued. He said cameras recording officers’ action – both cell-phone footage and body camera video – help the department when allegations of police misconduct surface.
“In nine out of 10 cases, the officer is exonerated,” Eugling said.
The chief said the biggest crime issue in the village right now is theft, with youths roaming village streets checking car doors and grabbing items from vehicles left unlocked. Eugling said residents can take a big step in halting the crimes of opportunity. “Lock your doors,” Eugling said. “That is the most basic deterrent.” He noted police in Summer 2016 nabbed three different individuals who had been hitting unlocked cars in neighborhoods all throughout the village.
Being a homegrown product in the Police Department hasn’t always been easy, the chief said. Eugling noted it was awkward at times as an officer having offenders be someone he grew up with in the community.
“But I had a job to do and I was going to do my job,” Eugling said.