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Featured today in Part 17 of “Called to Serve,” a weekly N-G series in which law-enforcement officers share stories about their journey to the job: Urbana police Sgt. JAY LOSCHEN, who retired two weeks ago after 21 years of service.

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Jay Loschen

The flyer for Jay Loschen’s retirement sendoff in Urbana.

'In 21 years, I have seen a variety of calls for service, and it never ceases to amaze me what law enforcement deals with'

By JAY LOSCHEN

When it comes to a defining moment, I don’t exactly remember the year or how old I was but my mother, Juanita Loschen, was the victim or an armed robbery at the old Stewart Oil that was located on Springfield Avenue in Champaign.

I knew then that this was unacceptable and I wanted to try to make a difference. Even though I was young, I knew when I got out of high school at Centennial that I was going to join the Navy.

While serving my country, I also knew what I wanted to do when I returned home and actually tested once while I was home on leave. I departed the Navy in 1992, started my criminal-justice degree with Parkland College that year and worked a variety of jobs before landing a part-time position as a correctional officer at the Douglas County Jail, being hired by then-Sheriff John Chambers. He truly gave me my first chance.

From there, I worked at the Pontiac prison for a short amount of time before coming back home. I was given the opportunity to work at the Champaign County Jail from 1996 to 2000 when I was hired with the city of Urbana.

While employed with Urbana police, I have held the position of K-9 officer, field-training officer, mobile field force and FOP president, and was promoted to sergeant in 2012, which is the rank I retired at.

In 21 years, I have seen a variety of calls for service, and it never ceases to amaze me what law enforcement deals with.

As I mentioned before, I worked at Pontiac prison before the Champaign County Jail; therefore, my street name for those I dealt with was “Pontiac.” Many new officers will get asked if “Pontiac” is working, and they are like “Who?”

I truly thank the community I have served for making my 21 years an exciting and fulfilling career. There are many people, parents, I would like to thank for allowing me to be the person and police officer I am today — even after arresting one of their family members.

Those who might read this will know who I am speaking of without saying their names.

First and foremost, I have to thank God for allowing me to wake up each day the last 21 years. Secondly, I would have to thank my wife, Tracy. She has stood by me during my career, even though sometimes I would forget to empty my cup before entering our home.

Last but not least, I would thank my children for trying to understand what I dealt with and even though they may have thought, at some point, that I was trying to police them, I was only trying to keep them safe based on things I have seen.

In closing, I want to thank all of the brothers and sisters throughout Champaign County I have come to know over the years and for those believing in me. I also want to thank the dispatchers from METCAD who have tolerated me, as I know they too get frustrated, overworked and overlooked.

What I want people to remember about me is this, “Be a leader, not just a title.”

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