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New East Peoria police chief intends to embrace change

New East Peoria Police Chief David Catton takes his official oath of office during a ceremony Wednesday at East Peoria City Hall.
Joe Deacon
New East Peoria Police Chief David Catton takes his official oath of office during a ceremony Wednesday at East Peoria City Hall.

Chief David Catton wants to institute some new ideas and approaches as the leader of the East Peoria Police Department.

“Two months ago, I did not think I was going to be in this position. But here I am,” Catton said Wednesday during his official swearing in ceremony at East Peoria City Hall.

Catton, 46, had been serving as acting co-chief alongside Deputy Chief Ryan Billingsley since former Chief Rich Brodrick retired in May.

“We've accomplished a lot in just the few weeks I've been there, which is really exciting,” said Catton, adding he’s looking forward to the opportunity to lead the department.

“As the old chief used to say, I like change,” Catton said. “We're not going to go with the model of: ‘it's always been done this way.’ We're going to change a lot, and for the betterment of this city and the community – because ultimately in the end, that's who we serve is the community each and every day.”

Catton said his top priorities include expanding the department's use of technology, improving efficiency, and bolstering community engagement efforts.

East Peoria Mayor John Kahl said Catton's leadership abilities and integrity make him an ideal choice as the next chief.

“With Chief Catton, I couldn't be more proud of the guy,” Kahl said. “If you get to know him as a person, you truly understand how genuine he is and how much passion he has in serving our community. It really stood out and I think he's going to do a great job.”

Kahl said it’s important to note Catton is the second straight internal candidate promoted to chief.

“The message to our department is very simple: If you hire on here, you do a great job, you're dedicated, you're hard working, you serve the community well, and this is where you could land someday,” Kahl said.

Catton began his law enforcement career with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office prior to joining the East Peoria police in November 2005, advancing from patrolman to deputy chief prior to this promotion.

The new chief fought through emotions as he acknowledged the current and former officers on hand to witness him taking the oath of office.

“That's just what this job brings every day, so when you see guys like that, it means a lot to me,” he said.

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.