FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — Freeport, IL — Todd Barkalow, who joined the Freeport Police Department in 1993 and served as its chief of police since 2014 today announced his plans to retire early next month. “After 26 very rewarding years serving our community and representing the fine men and women of the Freeport Police Department, and after long and careful consideration with my wife and family, I have decided that now is a good time to hand off the reins to someone else as I move on to other challenges,” said Chief Barkalow. “I am proud of the progress we have made to make Freeport safe and, perhaps more importantly, to establish strong bonds with the community we are sworn to protect.”
Chief Barkalow joined the Freeport Police Department as a patrol officer in 1993. He rose steadily through the ranks, having also served as a patrol sergeant and an operations lieutenant. Barkalow held various other positions during his tenure including street crimes investigator, bike patrol officer, emergency response team member and K-9 officer.
Todd Barkalow was appointed chief of police in May 2014 after having served as the Department’s interim chief. As leader of the 48-officer police department, he established the city’s first Special Victims Unit in 2017, which had a team of detectives focusing solely on domestic violence and sexual assault cases. He also established the city’s first gang unit to address gang and drug-related violence.
“The City of Freeport is stronger and safer because of the time, energy and commitment that Todd Barkalow has given all of us over these last 26 years,” said Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller. “We are grateful for all he has done to ensure that the police and the community are working together to make sure we’re all safe. We thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck to him and his family in the future.”
Barkalow also guided the Department through a recent high-profile case in which three men were arrested on charges of misdemeanor disorderly conduct made public complaints that Freeport officers didn’t handle the incident appropriately. One of the individuals was a patient of FHN Hospital at the time of the incident. The City hired an independent, third party investigator to look into the incident and concluded that while there was no misconduct on behalf of the police officers, that the Department could learn from the incident, especially with respect to how its officers interact with hospitalized individuals or those requesting medical attention.
“In a profession that operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week, there is never a perfect time to retire. There is always more to do, more ways to serve the community and more ways to ensure our officers have all the resources they need to get the job done,” said Barkalow. “I have been thinking about the next phase of my life for quite some time now and wanted to see this matter through. I have done that and will support this department in any way I can going forward.”
With the assistance of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the City will immediately begin a search to appoint an interim police chief to guide the department as a national search begins to identify a permanent chief. Chief Barkalow, 57, will officially retire on August 2nd. The Freeport City Council will honor his career of service at its August 5th meeting.