SHILOH – Chief of Police Jim Stover is preparing for retirement after a long and rewarding career.
Stover has been the chief for ten years now, and said, “I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Previously, Stover spent 29 years in the O’Fallon Police Department and retired as a captain. “I was maxed out on pension, but I was still young, and I still felt that I had something to contribute, so when the spot in Shiloh opened up, I came out of retirement for it.”
When he joined the Shiloh Police Department, it was much smaller than it is now.
“We were housed in a 300 square foot room over at Village Hall. Our current building now is about 1800 square feet, and we’re outgrowing it, but it’s 100 times better than it was.” He added that it was very rewarding for him to update the department and equipment because “We were able to provide the level of service that the community expected and deserved.”
Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier agreed saying that Stover has reshaped policing in Shiloh and acknowledged how far they’ve come.
“Chief really grew that department from Village Hall into the more professional organization that it is now. He has continued to help it grow with our community, and he’s added detectives and office personnel,” said Vernier.
Vernier said he’ll miss Stover as chief, and added “I’ve known him since I was a kid, and I remember him being with O’Fallon Police Department when I was in high school. I was glad when he applied for the Shiloh position, and he really stood out among the applicants. We’re very glad he’s been here, and for all that he’s done.”
Village Trustee Greg O’Neil, who heads up safety needs in the town and has worked closely with Stover also said he would miss him being the chief of police.
“Chief is a good guy, and he’s done a lot for that department. With him coming out of retirement to take the position, we knew this was coming sooner or later. Anyone who takes that job has some big shoes to fill, that’s for sure. I really hop he enjoys his retirement. As hard as he’s worked, he’s earned it,” said O’Neil.
Stover, whose last day is December 31, said that while he may be retiring, he still wants to help if he can.
“I told Mayor and John Marquart that anything I can do, anything I can contribute to help have a positive impact on the community, they can call me. We’re staying in Shiloh, it’s a good town. And, I’m saying this is my final retirement, but never say never,” said Stover.
When asked about his plans for retirement, Stover laughed and said “My wife, Pam, tells me she has a full ‘Honey Do’ list waiting for me, so I’m sure the first little bit will be spent on that. Then we’ll spend some time together, maybe find a camper. We used to go camping a lot.”
Stover also proudly spoke of his three daughters and two grandchildren that he plans to spend more time with. “Sandy is my youngest, and she works in Bloomington-Normal for Special Olympics. Barbie is my middle daughter, and she’s a telecommunicator with the Illinois State Police. Then Patricia is my oldest, and she’s an elementary school teacher, and she’s the one that has my granddaughter and grandson. Her husband is a sergeant, about to be a lieutenant, with the O’Fallon Police Department. They’re good girls, it’ll be nice to see them more. This is definitely a new chapter in my life,” he said.
Shiloh’s next Police Chief will be vetted and hired by the Village Board of Trustees, and will be trained by Assistant Chief Gary McGill. “McGill’s a good guy, he’s been on the job 28 years and is the longest tenured Shiloh Police officer. I have no doubts that no matter what happens, he will keep this place running smoothly and get the new chief up to speed,” Stover said.
As parting advice for his police officers, Stover said “This is a fine group of men and women. They serve their community and the citizens with pride, and if they keep doing what they’ve been doing, I’m sure that they will have as rewarding a career as I have had.”
And for his successor, Chief Stover also had some advice.
“Put a priority on community problem solving, and don’t take things so seriously.”