Langon Evans shakes the hand of Piatt County Deputy Skyler Sieving during the meet and greet held at the Cerro Gordo Civic Center on May 9.
By CHRISTY JANKOWSKI
Thursday evening, May 9, at the Cerro Gordo Civic Center and many throughout the village showed up to meet with the new police officer in town. Piatt County Deputy Skyler Sieving started officially on March 19 and there has been a buzz going on about the new coverage ever since.
Originally the village had their own police department, but switched as many small municipalities are doing around the Country to the County for coverage. At first many were concerned, but it seems as if people are welcoming Sieving to the village. There have been many stops by Sieving, so there are a few complaints, however for the most part it appears the addition is positive.
Prior to Piatt County, Sieving worked for Rantoul. He received his Associates from Parkland Community College and attended Police Academy Training through University of Illinois.
Susan Szadai organized the event for people to get to know Sieving. Szadai is new to the village and stated, “I think with this change, I knew I didn’t really know anybody in the police department previously. So when they made this change I am kinda like I would like to know who I am calling for help. Who is going to come to my assistance. I just thought it was a good idea and thought if I’m curious, maybe others would be curious too.”
When asked if she would organize more events, she stated, “I am always looking for an opportunity to help out. I have volunteerism in my blood.”
Village Trustee Brad Williams and Mayor Dennis Ridgeway were present at the meet and greet. Both are happy with Sieving’s work. Williams stated, “We can tell people have slowed down and more conscientious of stop signs. We have had more positive comments than negative.”
With Ridgeway adding, “It’s working out really well. It’s effective.”
Eventually Piatt County will rotate someone else in for a fresh set of eyes. Sieving has mostly been stopping people for running stop signs, speeding, and drivers using their phones while driving.
Sieving added he is enjoying his time in Cerro Gordo as there is always something to do. “Even in situations where I had to give people tickets it was positive…some frustrated with the situation.”
Sieving has worked some with the School Resource Officer as well, and will continue to do so. He even stated as for connecting with the kids in the area, one night he noticed kids playing basketball at Born Park. He walked up to them and asked, “Want to play P-I-G with a Pig?”
They laughed, and were surprised by the language, as it is generally a derogatory term, but they connected. He stated he did that to connect with the kids, to make them aware of making good decisions.
Villagers Christopher and Sara Carter live off of Durfee Street and for awhile were afraid to let their children, one going into 1st grade and the other a preschooler out to play. Sara one day was walking with the kids and stated, “I was almost hit, and I had to throw them (kids) to the side because someone blew a stop sign.” Adding, “Before, he would ask me to go out and play and I didn’t feel comfortable letting him. But, now I notice a whole less traffic flying by. I feel more comfortable now to just go out and play and be a kid.”
Sieving stated he is generally a pretty easy going understanding guy, but if you are doing over 50mph in a 30mph zone, you will get stopped. If you are on your phone or blow a stop sign, you will get stopped. He added, “Only stopped the same two people twice. I’m not out here to get people, I’m out here to do my job.”
As far as Sieving’s favorite doughnut, he laughed stating, “The ones that I can eat.”
If anyone in the village needs to reach Siving and it is not an urgent matter he states to contact him by email: email@example.com and if it is something currently happening, contact dispatch at 217-762-5761. If it is an emergency, always contact 911.