WATCH: One-on-One with Champaign Police Chief

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Anthony Cobb has been the chief for the Champaign police department for 9 years now.

He’s been serving as a police officer in Champaign and Urbana for almost 30 years.

“It’s my duty to serve. That’s what I’m called to do and I will serve until the day I die,” Cobb said.

Now, he will serve differently at a new job he says was too good to pass up.

The Chief says the decision was not a knee-jerk reaction. He says he had been thinking about and planning for it for months.

He says after almost 30 years it was time for him to take a step back and be able to spend time with his family.

“It’s bittersweet, like I said, there’s so much more I would love to see this department accomplish and I think we will,” he said.

For almost 9 years the Champaign police department has been led by the same, familiar face. Chief Anthony Cobb was appointed to the post in March of 2012. A position he says he’s never taken lightly.

“We wear a lot of hats. I get called 24/7 I’m on call 365 days a year,” he said.

Now, all of that is changing for the city, for Cobb, and his family.

“Gives me an opportunity to be a little bit selfish. I can have more time for my family, for my grandkids, more time to do some of the things I want to and ventures I want to get into,” he said.

Cobb started his law enforcement career in Urbana before becoming the Chief in Champaign.

He says resigning is what’s best for him right now, but he will always remember where he came from.

“It’s bittersweet. I enjoyed my career I’ve loved the things I’ve had the opportunity to learn and deal with to address the citizens. I’ve been able to serve individuals I’ve been able to help,” Cobb said. “I treasure that. I will always treasure that.”

But he says being a police officer doesn’t define him.

“I recognize being a police officer has been my profession, but who I am as a man, I define that. My job doesn’t define me, my profession doesn’t define me, I stand in my own manhood,” he said.

His last day will officially be August 6th. He will then start his new job with Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. That’s based out of Springfield, but Cobb says he will stay and be a part of the Champaign community.

The very next step will be to fill his position. That responsibility falls on City Manager Dorothy Ann David.

David says the first thing for her is to decide who will be interim chief. She will announce that before Cobbs’ last day.

She says she will focus on hiring a new chief. She says the direction and values set by Chief Cobb will be the foundation for them moving forward.

“We will never replace Anthony Cobb. A leader of his caliber, a man of his humanity. We will miss him deeply as a friend and a colleague and this community wishes him the best,” David said.

She says they will launch a nationwide search to recruit the next Chief. Right now, they don’t know when that search will start, but David says her goal is to have a new chief by the end of the year.

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