Featured today in Part 5 of “Called to Serve,” a weekly N-G series in which law-enforcement officers share stories about their journey to the job with Editor Jeff D’Alessio: 1989 Centennial High grad and Danville police Sgt. ERIC KIZER.
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'No matter what the economy does, there's always a need for good officers'
By ERIC KIZER
I didn’t really know I wanted to be a police officer until I was a teenager. It was after high school and I was hanging out with a group of friends, like most teenagers.
I spent a lot of time on one of my friend’s couches, sleeping over. His dad was a Champaign police officer, and one day, he asked me what I was going to study in college. I told him “finance” and that I wanted to be a loan officer.
He said: “You know, you have the temperament and personality to be a police officer. It’s a good job, and no matter what the economy does, there’s always a need for good officers. You should give that profession some thought.”
I was a big N.W.A. fan and thought “no way I could be the police.” Well, after struggling with finance as a major in college — I couldn’t even balance my own checkbook — I began testing around the state, but after around 15 police tests, I still had not found a job and gave up.
I worked as a manager for a convenience store and hated my district manager.
I started dating a girl, and one day, she was tired of listening to me complain about my job.
She asked me: “If you could do any job, what would it be?” I told her that I wanted to become a police officer, and she replied, “Well, get your fat butt up, start exercising and start taking tests.”
I took her advice, got into shape and decided I would take the Danville test again, just so I could get back in the swing of things.
Well, as luck would have it, Danville actually hired me, and I’ve been here for 20 years.