CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign Police Officer Jeffrey Creel retired this week after 22 years.

In 1993, Creel began his law enforcement career in Des Moines, Iowa with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He then worked for the Chicago Police Department in 1995 before being hired by the Champaign Police Department in 2000.

“I feel blessed and humbled to have had a career for nearly 30 years that I truly loved,” said Creel. “I loved it because I worked with selfless people whose goals were to help others every day.”

As a member and leader of multiple specialized units at the Champaign Police Department, Creel served for over 20 years as a SWAT Officer, seven years as a member of the Electronics Technician Team, and four years as a Certified Technical Investigator, as certified by the National Technical Investigators Association.

Creel was also shot in the line of duty on the same scene when his partner Chris Oberheim was shot and killed in May 2021. Oberheim and Creel were awarded the Medal of Valor and Purple Heart for what the CPD calls “their distinguished service, regardless of personal safety, in an attempt to protect and save human life on May 19, 2021.” 

In addition to these awards, Creel received numerous other accolades, including the Gnagey Award for SWAT Officer of the Year on two separate occasions. He has been the recipient of 22 department commendations and five city awards. He is also among the founding organizers of the Champaign Police Chaplain Program, which brings together local faith leaders to offer a listening ear for law enforcement personnel.

“Jeffrey Creel is an exemplary officer, an exceptional leader, and a great public servant,” said Chief of Police Timothy T. Tyler. “The men and women of the Champaign Police Department are thankful that he has shared his gifts with our department and kept this community safe for 22 years. We will miss his calming presence and his teacher’s spirit, and we wish him the best in his retirement.”

Creel’s final day at the Champaign Police Department was Dec. 19.