- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) - Chris Peters spent part of his childhood living near the jail.

As the son of Macon County Sheriff Charles Peters, the family lived in the sheriff’s quarters in the 1960s, on the fifth floor of the courthouse.

“On the weekends we played on the elevators and stairs. We had the run of the place, kind of like Mayberry,” said Peters, 56, who is retiring after 30 years on the Decatur Police Department, effective Friday.

A first-shift patrol sergeant, Peters has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, David Peters, who also served as Macon County sheriff. Chris Peters‘ law enforcement career includes service as the coordinator of the distinguished Fatal Accident Investigation Team and DUI coordinator.

Peters had just been promoted to sergeant when patrol officer Robin Vogel was killed by a drunken driver in a crash in 2005. After department leaders decided to become more aggressive, arrest numbers soared from about 40 to 50 each year, to 730 in 2009, second-highest of any city in the state, besides Chicago. In 2014, Decatur police arrested 477, first in that category.

When Peters first tested to become an officer at 21, he failed the physical test.

He went to work for UPS, loading and unloading trucks, while attending college. However, he kept his dream of keeping the family tradition alive by joining the Decatur police auxiliary force. He served as a volunteer officer for three years before becoming a paid officer.

Like many new officers, he was put on the overnight shift.

“I had the hardest time adjusting to the hours,” Peters said. “I couldn’t sleep. During training, I questioned if I made the right choice.”

He spent 13 years working the graveyard shift altogether, as a patrol officer or sergeant. He was promoted to master patrol officer and served as a field training officer.

Although he is hanging up his uniform, Peters will remain active serving law enforcement. On Jan. 23 he was to begin his new career as safety grant administrator for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“I love my job. I hate to leave it,” Peters said. “But I won’t have to answer the phone in the middle of the night or do monthly reports.”

Police Chief Jim Getz said Peters has done a great job, especially with the Fatal Accident Investigation Team, DUI enforcement and writing grants for additional DUI hire-back officers.

Chris was an expert in fatal accident investigations, which was beneficial to the department,” Getz said. “They helped out the state and county. They do a great job and are one of the best in the area, which is related to the effort Sgt. Peters put in.”

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Source: (Decatur) Herald & Review, https://bit.ly/2jymcAV

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Information from: Herald & Review, https://www.herald-review.com

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