BEMENT — David Lansford, a Bement native and 12-year veteran of the DeWitt County sheriff's office, was hired as a village police officer this week.
It is the next step as the village re-establishes its own police department.
At a special meeting, the village board voted 5-0 to hire Lansford for an annual salary of $36,000 plus benefits. In July, the board had opted not to renew a contract with the sheriff's office, which had provided police coverage for the past year.
"I am really excited about this. Dave and I will work really well together," said Village President Pat Tieman. "We've known each other since high school. I think it will be a great thing for us. He's got a lot of ideas he'd like to implement for us."
Lansford, a 1986 graduate of Bement High School, has been in law enforcement for 24 years, including stops in Champaign County, in Bement from 1990-95, and most recently as a sergeant in DeWitt County.
"I'm thrilled, and really looking forward to it," said Lansford, who lives in Bement with his wife and 4-year-old daughter. "It will be nice to be back in my hometown."
Tieman, a 1983 Bement High School grad, said the village needs to make sure Lansford has a uniform and the equipment he needs, and hopes the police department will be up and running again in the next two weeks. The village already has a squad car and radio equipment.