Top of the Morning, Jan. 12, 2018

Top of the Morning, Jan. 12, 2018

A lot of institutional memory is heading out the door of the Champaign Police Department today.

After 23 years, 4 months and 21 days as the secretary to the chief of police, MARY MULLEN is retiring.

Although her title is administrative assistant to the chief of police, the 62-year-old is sort of a mom to the entire department.

"I've been here 20 years, and she has been the go-to person for everything big and small for everyone of nearly every rank," said Deputy Chief DAVE SHAFFER. "She is the backbone of the department and is relied upon by many. She is the gatekeeper to all things present and past, from when somebody has a question, to somebody who needs a reprogrammed key card, to what does this key go to."

Mullen joked that she's been called "Google Mary."

Deputy Chief TROY DANIELS said her grasp of departmental history has helped determine better ways to do things.

"I appreciate Mary's willingness to help with everything from reviewing a report for format and punctuation to finding a needed intergovernmental agreement. She will be greatly missed," Daniels said.

Mullen has outlasted four chiefs and is now working for her fifth.

"They are all my favorites for different reasons," said the diplomat. "I always thought my role was as a helper for the officers, and I always liked helping them."

She has also been great at calmly and professionally fielding calls from impatient news reporters.

Next up on her agenda: "My grandkids, reading, swimming, boating and camping. That is the order."

And she may come back to help train her replacement. Some 380 people applied; about nine were interviewed.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

To reach Mary Schenk, email

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