Longtime Urbana Police Officer Josh Jacobs was recently promoted to the position of lieutenant with the Urbana Police Division.
Jacobs was promoted last week and was sworn in during Tuesday’s Urbana City Council meeting. The promotion follows the retirement of Lt. Seth King.
A 1995 graduate of Urbana High School, Jacobs started his law enforcement career with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.
“(Former Sheriff) Dave Deskins, who was kind of like a mentor of mine, took the chance on a young 18-year-old kid and hired me as a dispatcher to where then I got a little taste of it,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs’ interest in a career in law bloomed and he worked for the sheriff’s office for four and a half years before testing and getting hired at the Urbana Police Division in 1999. Jacobs said he has been blessed that former Chief Pat Wagner, current Chief Matt Lingrell and the division have given him different responsibilities as an officer including being part of a drug task force.
Between 2008 through 2012, Jacobs was assigned to the division’s criminal investigative unit where he was involved in drug investigations, homicide investigations and sex abuse cases.
Jacobs was promoted to sergeant in 2012.
Jacobs credits his parents, family, Deskins, Judge Nick Selvaggio and King as people who have been instrumental during his career.
For his transition to the lieutenant position, Jacobs said he was able to shadow King for the last two months to learn the everyday operations and administrative work in running the department.
“In this position I’ve immediately noticed that I’m not really doing a lot of police work right now, I’m not handling cases or investigations,” Jacobs said. “I still help dictate and direct that but our sergeants do a great job of that so I really don’t have to look so much at that. I’m learning more the everyday administrative role so the number one thing I’m working hard on learning is the budgeting side of things and purchasing orders and running the everyday finance of our department.”
Lingrell stated the police lieutenant helps oversee the daily operations of the division and has direct supervision over the four patrol sergeants while also helping to implement larger types of projects and programs, making recommendations to the chief on budgeting, programming and police and acts as the second in command in the chief’s absence.
“It’s important that the police lieutenant is in line with and understands the goals, policy and direction as set forth by the police chief and makes it a priority in making certain we do our very best to meet those expectations and address those times whenever we fall short,” Lingrell stated.
Lingrell added Jacobs is someone who champions Urbana and the causes of the police division.
“I see in Josh a veteran, experienced officer who is thoughtful and polite while understanding the ‘big picture’ of things as they relate to the police and our community,” Lingrell stated. “He’s someone who over many years has developed a vast amount of knowledge of the criminal segment of our community and is great at investigating crime. He is probably one of the all-time best as it pertains to Urbana Police Division outreach efforts with our community. He’s a problem solver who always is willing to become part of the solution to issues which will either benefit the UPD, the Urbana community or both.”
Following the retirement of King, Lingrell said the division is at 17 officers which he said is well below where they need to be. To fill the vacancy left by Jacobs’ promotion, Lingrell said he hopes to have a replacement at sergeant within the next month.
The division is also working off of an entry level civil service eligibility list and Lingrell hopes to get up to 19 officers.