The Village of South Jacksonville has selected a familiar face in law enforcement as its new Chief of Police. Jacksonville Police Lieutenant Eric Hansell has been named as the new chief. His appointed was accepted last night in a special village board meeting.
Hansell brings over two decades of law enforcement experience as a Jacksonville officer to the post. He also is familiar with outgoing Chief of Police Tim Mann. Mann says that Hansell brings an impeccable record to South Jacksonville: “He’s going to bring some training and some aspects to the department that I think we really need. I’m excited about him taking over. He’s a gentleman with just incredible integrity. It’s going to be a great thing for the village.”
Hansell says he took the job as a way to continue his lengthy career as well as to find more time to spend with his family: “[The chief position] gives me a different venue of work. It gives me different responsibilities. I get a little bit more input into the department and how it operates. I also get [the benefit] of completing a second pension. The other reasons I took the job was to come off of 12-hour shifts to get more of a solid schedule. I’ve spent the majority of my career on midnights working 12-hour shifts. I have three boys right now that are graduating from high school and they are going to be heading off to college or going to college already and moving on. This is going to hopefully afford me a little more time to go duck hunting with them, spend some time with them, spend some more time with my wife, and catch up kind of on my life.”
Hansell says he hopes that his connection now with both departments and his many years working with Jacksonville Chief Adam Mefford will continue to help both departments grow together. Hansell says he and Mefford have already begun discussion on ideas of mutual training exercises and opportunities. Hansell says he hopes to continue community-oriented policing: “I’ve already got meetings set up with Midwest Youth Services. I was very heavily involved in the City of Jacksonville in the Citizens Police Academy. I hope to maintain that down here. I love and enjoy just getting out and talking to the public myself, so I’m going to encourage that. It hasn’t been that long ago that I actually left the City of Jacksonville with some of my fellow officers and met a South Jacksonville officer on Greenwood Avenue, I believe it was, and attended a lemonade stand that some girls were running to raise money for a dance recital that they were in. I believe in getting out and talking to the public, shaking hands, and hanging out with people. Being a police officer is not just writing tickets and taking reports. It’s interacting with your community and being involved in your community, and becoming a part of it. It doesn’t matter if it is Jacksonville, South Jacksonville, or Morgan County – we all live in the same area; we all eat at the same restaurants; we all shop at the same stores; and if we can all get to know each other and be friends to speak of, it’s going to make life go a lot easier for everybody.”
Village President Harry Jennings says that the village board had a strong pool of candidates to choose from but Hansell impressed them during his interview: “He was just universally liked by the myself and the board. He just impressed us all, and everyone thinks he’s going to be a really great fit. He’s very well-trained, very well-respected and a good fit with our community policing rapport with South Jacksonville. We just think he’s going to be a great long-term fit here in the village.”
Hansell will officially assume the chief position on October 1st when Chief Mann officially steps down. Mann says he hopes to spend more time at home with his family and spend more time running his small business in retirement.