URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – 25 years ago, he was the guy you’d call when you needed your roof redone.
As of Monday night, he’s the man with the highest rank at the Urbana Police Department.
Bryant Seraphin was sworn in as police chief Monday night at the Urbana City Council meeting.
But, that wasn’t always his plan.
Seraphin says life is crazy…because you think you know how you’re going to plan for the future, but a twist of fate can change everything.
It certainly did for him.
Earning the top post at the department is a desirable goal, but it wasn’t where Bryant Seraphin saw himself.
“No, it was not my dream to be the police chief. As a matter of fact when I started, I was roofing houses.”Seraphin
He did that during the summer, in between semesters at the U of I…a school he came to as a pre-med major.
“Chemistry and calculus will make you rethink your priorities and what you want to do,” laughed Seraphin.
He stopped trying to find the value of X, when he decided he wanted to find and bust the bad guys.
He graduated from the U of I in May 1994. A few months later, he got a job offer from the Urbana Police Department.
“I had a small, tiny little run-down apartment and I said sure absolutely, I don’t want to roof houses anymore,” said Seraphin. “Life’s a journey, and your career’s a journey, and so you don’t always necessarily know where you’re going to end up.”
Even if he can’t predict the future, he’s got a vision for it. He played a big role in implementing body cameras, to increase transparency and accountability.
Going beyond that…”another thing that I want our officers to do is to treat people with grace and respect,” said Seraphin. “Even sometimes we might have to chase them and tackle them. But we can assist them back up then, and do it in a respectful manner.”
Seraphin says his number 1 goal is strengthening “community policing.”
That means getting officers out playing basketball with kids, or going to a neighborhood cookout.
That way, people can see who they are behind the badge.
“They will coach little league, and go to the PTA bake sales, and do all the same things that everyone else does. We need to make sure people understand that about us, and then we need to make sure that we don’t forget that either.”Seraphin