Elgin police commander Echevarria taking top cop job in Peoria
Elgin Police Cmdr. Eric Echevarria, a lifelong Elginite and 22-year veteran of the Elgin police force, is retiring in July to become police chief in Peoria.
"Elgin is near and dear to me, my family is here, we have deep roots here," Echeverria said Tuesday. "I love Elgin, there's no other words I can say."
"But an opportunity came up, and I'm excited for this new chapter in my life and my family's lives," he said.
Echeverria attended Elgin Area Unit District 46 schools, graduating from Elgin High School in 1993. He is a Marine Corps veteran and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University. In his 22 years with the Elgin Police Department, he's worked patrol, spent nine years as a resident officer in the ROPE program, and been a sergeant in major investigations and a patrol lieutenant. He took over as commander of investigations in March 2020.
"Commander Echevarria's history with the resident police officer program, which we modeled here in Peoria after Elgin, his enthusiasm for the position, his focus on community engagement, and his desire to make a difference in a community like Peoria were strong factors in his selection. I welcome his ideas and his experience," Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich said in a news release.
Echevarria, who will take over in Peoria on Aug. 2, said he looks forward to taking his community policing background to a town that while similar in population, already has 13 recorded homicides on the year, compared with two in Elgin.
"I really want to get entrenched in the community and have conversations and 'walk and talks' and see what the community is asking for and what they want from the police department," Echevarria said.
Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley couldn't say enough good things about Echevarria.
"He's just amazing," Lalley said. "He has one of the best work ethics I've ever seen and on top of that he is a very kind, genuine caring person with a great heart and I'm going to completely miss him."
Lalley said that by her count, seven co-workers have gone on to be police chiefs at other departments in her 26 years in Elgin.
"Peoria is definitely getting one of the best," she said. "He understands what policing is today, and whatever the challenges are he's walking in to, he's going to do an amazing job."