Fairview Heights Police Chief Nicholas Gailius was just named the 2017 Police Chief of the Year in Illinois. It is a well-deserved honor, and a great example of how you don’t have to leave home to achieve great success.
Gailius is a hometown boy, born and raised in Fairview Heights. At 14 he became a Police Explorer and worked at the Fairview Heights Police Department as a dispatcher, a patrolman, an undercover investigator, a detective, a sergeant, the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency coordinator, a lieutenant and as assistant chief.
But the honor is about his outreach work.
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He put together initiatives that reach out to youth, offering mentoring as well as encouraging minority youth to consider law enforcement careers. He works at communicating with neighborhood groups and bringing volunteers into the system. He has officers who target neighborhood crime.
When local law enforcement was worried about violence from the Ferguson riots spilling into other communities, they picked Gailius to lead the planning and coordination.
Statewide awards often bring opportunities. Gailius soon may be hearing from headhunters.
Here’s hoping the local folks appreciate who they’ve got. Here’s hoping Gailius continues believing it is best to bloom where you are planted.