Gordon Beck, chief of police in Le Roy, Ill., has been named Officer of the Year by the American Legion in that state.
Beck, 61, who grew up in Fresno, has been chief since 2005. The longtime Valley resident served 25 years at the Lemoore Police Department and instructed at police academies.
The recognition in his new state came a surprise, he said.
“I figured my name would go into a hat and never come out,” he said. But he ended up as one of three finalist, then got the award at a statewide convention this month in Springfield, Ill.
The former Lemoore sergeant set a goal of becoming police chief in a small town. His wife’s family lives in Illinois, so he jumped at the chance when Le Roy, population 3,700, asked him to lead the force of six full-time officers.