By Kate Crutcher
O’FALLON – O’Fallon Police Chief Eric Van Hook was honored Monday with a certificate of recognition from the Illinois Senate for being named the 2019 Chief of the Year by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
Van Hook will be accepting an award during the Annual Awards Banquet in Oak Brook, Illinois, on April 26. The award is for Van Hook’s leadership in the community and his police department. During Monday’s presentation, State Senator Jason Plummer recognized Chief Van Hook for being selected as Illinois Chief of Year.
“I want to thank everyone because southern Illinois is a great place to live. If you go into the communities that are growing and where families are settling down, it is the law enforcement that makes the difference. O’Fallon goes above and beyond and is a great place to be. It is not an easy job, but the entire state of Illinois is proud of the chief and what the department has done,” Senator Plummer said.
Van Hook has served as the Chief of Police for O’Fallon since 2013. His career as a police officer started in 1990. After leaving for 15 months, to help out the neighboring town of Collinsville, he returned to O’Fallon to not only manage the O’Fallon Police Department, but also the EMS. There are 50 full-time sworn in officers, along with 31 civilians.
“We are so fortunate to have Chief Van Hook as a leader of public safety and the team that he built through the ranks. Chief, the whole community thanks you,” O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach said.
Van Hook obtained his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sterling College and his masters in human resource development from Webster University.
“It is extremely humbling to be recognized. It isn’t an ‘I’ sort of thing, it is a ‘we’ sort of thing. I am the one person getting the award, but I feel like 150 people from all walks of life in O’Fallon should also be getting the award. One person is not responsible for where we are today. I am just blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people,” Chief Van Hook said.