New faces to fire and police departments

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “I’m full of excitement, just very happy to be here,” Darrin Williams, new firefighter, said. “It’s a dream come true.”

New faces will be joining various departments in one Central Illinois community. Three new fire fighters were welcomed during tonight’s Champaign City council meeting and a new police officer was also sworn into office.

The Champaign Fire Department has several applicants on their waiting list, while the Champaign Police Department is noticing fewer employees.

“Very excited, just happy to be here and I’m thankful Champaign gave me an opportunity,” Williams said.

New firefighters and police officers lined up to be sworn in to their departments.

“I know I have a lot still ahead of me that I’m really excited to get to, but I’m just lucky I got to this point so far,” Trace Conover, firefighter, said.

The swearing-in ceremony happened before the Champaign City Council meeting. 3 firefighters were welcomed and another promoted.

“Everything lined up to bring me here to Champaign and live out my dream,” Williams said.

Becoming a firefighter can be a difficult process, the Champaign Fire Department had several applicants a few months ago.

“For anybody wanting to apply as a firefighter right now definitely do it,” Conover said. “I think the biggest advice I could say is don’t be discouraged, it could be a long process, just study, workout, make sure that you’re right and keep trying and you can get there.”

Another department is experiencing a shortage. The Champaign Police Department said they’re looing for employees and happy they were able to swear in a new officer.

“Obviously transferring I’ve kind of not been able to police for a little bit,” Daniel Weegens, Champaign Police Officer, said. “I’m just so anxious to get out there, I love policing. I love getting to meet the people through the work, so I’m just anxious to get to work.”

The City said the department is accepting ongoing applications for experienced officers and they just hired some more who will be sworn in to office. Its exciting for Champaign leaders to have new people willing to serve.

“I love helping people,” Weegens said. “I love being there on their worst day and being able to just make it a little bit better and I love just being there and meeting people and learning about people and this job just enables me to do that everyday.”

The City is still searching for a permanent chief of police.

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