Inaugural Address - Prepared Remarks
Chief Brian Fengel
President, ILACP

Installation of Officers Banquet - April 27, 2018
Peoria, Illinois

There are many people I want to thank tonight.  First and foremost, my wife Tanya, who I would not be able to do what I do without her support.  Our daughter Emily and son Blake are here tonight and I am so proud of both of them.  I am honored that they both changed their schedules to be here with me tonight.

I want to say a special thank you to my mom and dad.  They have been supportive of me from day one and have always been there for me.  They taught me to work hard and do what is right and treat people the way you want to be treated.  I would also like to take a minute to recognize my dad, who is a 90-year-old veteran from the Navy who served in World War II in the South Pacific where he witnessed the first test of the atomic bomb at Bikini Island.  Dad, would you stand for a minute? 

Secondly, I would like to thank the Bartonville Village Mayor, Leon Ricca, and our board members for fully supporting my installation as president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.  I would not be able to do this without their full support and acceptance.  I appreciate the confidence they show in me on a daily basis.  There are many Bartonville and Peoria community members and business leaders who have come tonight as well.  Thank you for being here and thank you for your support.

As I take this position as President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, I intend on employing the same leadership philosophy that I have within my own department.  Leadership in law enforcement is not about the rank.  It is about spending your career as a problem solver.  You can be a identify problems or choose to solve problems.  Solving issues involves engaging the officers and people in your community.  It involves doing the right thing, not the most popular thing.

To my fellow board members and fellow Illinois chiefs:  I pledge to work hard to lead this organization and your departments through these difficult times.  We have the opportunity to lead change.  I will do everything in my power to proactively address problems that our departments face every day. 

There are three areas that I see as top priority.  The first is our continued work with the Illinois NAACP and the Shared Principles.  The second is legislative advocacy.  The third is the financial viability of this organization to continue to provide a voice for police on both state and national levels.  Let me explain each of these briefly.

One of the works that I am most proud of with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is the development of theShared Principles document.  This is a document developed by a joint committee of the Illinois NAACP and the Illinois Chiefs.  It outlines 10 shared principles designed to build trust between police and communities of color.  It identifies common ground between local law enforcement and communities of color in their commitment to safe communities.  It is the first of its kind in our nation’s history.

It is the result of three years of conversations throughout the state. President James Kruger modeled this program after the success of his Unity Partnership in DuPage County.  Thank you, Jim. I look forward to the next steps toward fostering safer communities and respect for diversity.

The second priority is our continued work with legislative affairs.  Our Board and Legislative Committee work continuously to stay abreast of new bills and laws that impact law enforcement both in positive and negative ways.  Now more than ever, we need a strong voice.  School shootings, mental health issues, drug epidemics, and proposed changes to gun laws impact every single one of us, and we need to stand for the protection of the citizens and public safety.

My third priority is to ensure that the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police provides one voice for all of us.  We are 1,300 members strong across this state.  I want to ensure that this organization is addressing issues on a state level that each department could not do on its own.  Your involvement is key to our operational effectiveness and to our financial stability.  Continued training and education is vital to our growth and ability to meet the challenges we face. 

In closing, I want to thank you, our members and colleagues for entrusting me to this position.  Over the past several years, I have watched our past presidents and have learned from them.  I am proud to follow in their footsteps and look forward to building on their foundation. We are the thin blue line that will serve our communities and provide the citizens safe communities in which to live.  I would like to leave you with this quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

Thank you and have a great evening.