Collinsville police chief moves to O'Fallon

News-DemocratNovember 1, 2013 

The Collinsville police chief is going back to O'Fallon, and the State Police district commander is taking over in Troy.

Brad Parsons, currently district commander for the Illinois State Police post covering the metro-east, has been chosen as the new police chief in Troy. Approved by the Troy City Council on Monday, Parsons is a 15-year resident of Troy and is looking forward to working in his town.

"When State Police go into a community, it's usually because they need assistance," Parsons said. "With community policing, you can make a difference immediately, maybe make an impact."

Parsons has served 23 years with the State Police, 25 years total in law enforcement. When he was first commissioned as a state trooper, he was sent to Chicago as a motor officer. Since then he has served on special enforcement, motorcycle bureau chief and operations lieutenant before he was named district commander three years ago. As commander of District 11, he coordinated State Police presence in five counties, including Madison County.

Parsons isn't eligible for retirement for another year and a half, but he said he couldn't pass up the opportunity for a chief job in the city where he and his family live.

"If this hadn't opened up, I wouldn't have been shopping around for another chief job," he said. "They're a good department with good officers... I'm looking forward to continuing the things that are working and hopefully looking at things we haven't tried."

Meanwhile, Collinsville Chief Eric Van Hook is leaving after 14 months to return as chief of his former department in O'Fallon.

"It was a difficult choice," Van Hook said. "Being chief in O'Fallon was a dream I'd aspired to... When this opportunity presented itself, I was blessed to be considered."

Van Hook and his wife had already moved from O'Fallon to Collinsville when he was appointed last year. "We're becoming professional movers," he said. "I'm blessed to have a wife that understands."

Van Hook stressed that he was not in any way unhappy in Collinsville. "This is a great department and it was a tough decision to leave. It had nothing to do with any dissatisfaction with the job," Van Hook said. "Even though it was only for 14 months, I'm proud to have served here for that time."

Collinsville City Manager Scott Williams -- Van Hook's predecessor as chief -- echoed the sentiment. "We enjoyed a great relationship when he was here, and I hope to continue that as he moves back," Williams said. "He did a great job for us while he was here, and we're sorry to see him go."

Williams said the city will not conduct another major search for a police chief. "Having just gone through the process a year ago, we'll be using that to move forward," he said. "We hope to have somebody in place by Dec. 1."

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.

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