Champaign Deputy Police Chief Dave Shaffer


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CHAMPAIGN — Another of Champaign’s top cops is leaving the force to pursue other career opportunities.

Deputy Chief Dave Shaffer plans to give himself two weeks off between law enforcement gigs before beginning as police chief in Granby, Colo., a city of about 3,200 that he describes as “growing at a significant pace.”

Located about 85 miles northwest of Denver and 14 miles southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park, Granby boasts having the third-largest lake in the state. It has fishing, biking, camping and skiing “that can be done 365 days a year,” said Shaffer, who intends to take part in the area’s outdoor life.

“It’s kind of quiet,” he said, adding that the city hasn’t had a shooting “at least in the last 10 years.”

Shaffer, 53, will pack up his policies, perspective and 30 years of police experience and end his employment in Champaign officially Aug. 8.

However, his last day of work is Aug. 6, the same day Chief Anthony Cobb calls it quits from the department he’s led for nine years. Both Shaffer and Cobb were Urbana police officers together in the 1990s.

Shaffer was a paramedic in Champaign-Urbana before deciding to go into police work. He started as a Decatur police officer in 1991 and moved to the Urbana Police Department in 1994, then to Champaign in 1998.

He worked his way up from a patrol officer to patrol sergeant and lieutenant, becoming a SWAT member and firearms instructor along the way.

He assumed command of the department’s detectives two days early, on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, which saw two murders in the city.

A husband, father and grandfather, Shaffer has been deputy chief of operational support and professional standards since 2017.

Among his many duties has been writing and updating policies, drafting budgets, overseeing detectives and evidence, keeping track of inventory and fielding citizen complaints about officers and other employees.

Shaffer said he let Cobb know more than a year ago of his plan to retire from the department this year. A voluntary separation incentive payment offered by the city last fall sweetened the deal.

Shaffer was one of three deputy chiefs. The others are Tom Petrilli and Matt Henson. Just last week, Henson was named interim police chief to fill Cobb’s post. Henson said he does not intend to apply for the chief’s position.

Department spokesman Tom Yelich said because of the voluntary separation incentives the city paid out, Shaffer’s position will not be filled. Henson has been training with Shaffer.

“We began transferring those roles and responsibilities around February and have been planning for these departures for quite some time,” Shaffer said. “It may be new to some people outside this building, but we have had plans in place within the city for some time.”

Cobb said he was not surprised that Granby officials chose Shaffer.

He “has proven himself time and time again as a leader in the law enforcement profession and in the community,” Cobb said. “I know they will be pleased with their selection. Dave will bring a level of experience, expertise and care that will help foster community collaboration and support the town and its citizens.”

Shaffer said he’s grateful to his fellow first responders and the many citizens he’s worked with locally.

“I appreciate everything people have done for me for years, and hopefully, I’ve been able to help somebody in a positive way,” he said. “It’s time to let somebody else do this for a while. Everybody here just wants to do the right thing for people.”


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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