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Tad Freezeland

Tad Freezeland begins duties as chief of police in Arcola next week. Freezeland will leave the Coles County Sheriff's Office after more than 25 years of work there that included the position of chief deputy for the last four years.

CHARLESTON -- During more than 25 years with the Coles County Sheriff's Office, Tad Freezeland has been in most jobs the office has to offer.

For the last four years, he's been the office's chief deputy, second in command and overseeing day-to-day operations.

But wanting a change to a "more hometown" department helped lead to his decision to try something a bit different. Next week, he begins duties as chief of police in Arcola.

"It's always been a career goal of mine to run my own agency," Freezeland said. "It seemed like a really good fit."

During his time with the sheriff's office, a total of about 22 years were spent in command positions.

His duties included jail corrections officer, patrol officer with time as sergeant, sergeant and lieutenant in the detective section, and head of a drug interdiction team.

Freezeland described it as a "great job" that led to good relationships with other county officials and area police agencies.

"There was always a new adventure," he said.

As Arcola police chief, Freezeland will replace Mike Phillips, who left after about 20 years for a security position at the city's Libman Co. broom company.

Arcola city Administrator Bill Wagoner said Freezeland "really stood out" among the four applicants for the position, largely because of his administration experience as well as law enforcement work.

"He's very qualified," Wagoner said. "He's a really good hire for us. He's worn a lot of hats."

Coles County Sheriff Jimmy Rankin said Freezeland "has been an amazing administrator" and "I support him 100 percent" in his decision.

Rankin said he hasn't determined when he'll appoint a new person to the chief deputy's position.

Of his sheriff's office duties, Freezeland said he's most proud of work with the drug interdiction unit. It focuses on finding drugs during traffic incidents to help "get drugs of the street," he said.

He said he doesn't plan to relocate, as his Charleston residence is close enough to Arcola to meet the city's requirements.

Freezeland said he already feels the Arcola police department is well trained and well equipped, and he's had some contact with the department's officers. There are six full time and six part time officers, a good size staff for a smaller town, he said.

He knows city officials "want a working police chief" and said that won't be too much of a change. He's handled some patrol duties with the sheriff's office to help with workload and morale, he said.

He also said any plans for the Arcola department will wait until he has a time to observe its operations.

"I'm going to count on the guys who've been there for a while," he said.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave

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Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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