Fairview Heights Police Chief Nick Gailius announced that he plans to retire from the department in early July.
Gailius has been with the department since he was 14, when he worked as a volunteer police explorer, according to a news release. He worked as a dispatcher from 1986-1988, then started at the police department in 1988, where he has been ever since.
"It has been an honor leading one of the premier police departments in the metro-east. I will always love policing and serving others and the community," Gailius said. “Fairview Heights PD has been a big part of my life for 37 years. It will be tough to leave this behind. But, I must look forward to future opportunities to continue my service to others.”
In 2010, he was named chief of the department, and he started multiple community initiatives, like the Metro-East Cadets of Policing, a hot spot policing team, neighborhood patrol initiatives and a citizens' police academy.
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Gailius was named police chief of the year by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police in 2017, and he received the Chiefs Association Olympian Lifetime Leadership award and the United States Attorney award.
The Board of Police and Fire Commission will work to find a new chief in early July, and an interim chief will lead the department until the new chief is named.
Gailius is still running to be the St. Clair County sheriff as a Republican. Incumbent Sheriff Rick Watson is running for re-election as a Democat. The general election is Nov. 6.