By Amanda Brennan
Urbana Police Chief Bryant Seraphin announced his retirement from the police department effective March 25, 2022. He has been an Urbana officer for the last 27 years and the Chief of Police the last four.
Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin said, “The relationships he has built within the community and with neighboring jurisdictions have been invaluable.”
“Chief Seraphin has brought positive, supportive, and energetic leadership to the City of Urbana. We thank him for his dedicated service and wish him and his family the very best as they begin their next chapter,” she added.
While he was the Chief, the police department implemented the use of body-worn cameras and upgraded squad car cameras. Seraphin also worked with the Urbana School District to implement a full-time school resource officer and Urbana officer in both the middle school and high school.
Along with his work in the school district, he also helped the department launch a follow-up Crisis Co-Responder Team. This program provides a licensed social worker and behavioral health detective for follow-up social services to persons experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
“I am proud of how far we’ve come as a profession in the last quarter of a century. We are so much further ahead when dealing with mental health issues, both in our interactions with citizens and within the walls of our police department with our own employees. As long as we treat each other with grace and respect, we can continue to move forward in a positive way,” Seraphin said.
As the Chief, he has served on many boards and committees to help advance public safety and community well-being. He has devoted time to the Champaign County Community Coalition, Area-wide Records Management System Board, Public Safety Records Management System Board, Public Safety Advisory Committee (University of Illinois), Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Diversity Committee, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Upon Seraphin’s retirement in March, Mayor Diane Marlin will appoint Deputy Chief of Police Richard Surles as the Interim Chief. Surles has served the City of Urbana for the last 25 years. He started with the department after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in sociology and an emphasis in criminology.
The City of Urbana will begin a nationwide search for a new Chief of Police as soon as possible as Deputy Chief Surles indicated that he will not apply to be a candidate for the permanent position.