STERLING – Ever since Lt. Doug Fargher graduated from Dixon High School, he's wanted to be involved in law enforcement.
"I was bullied as a young person, so I wanted to be an advocate for people who couldn’t help themselves," he said.
When he turned 18, he walked right in to the Sterling Police Department and asked what he had to do to sign up.
Twenty-six years later, he has climbed the ranks from patrol officer to lieutenant. Friday was his last day with the department.
Fargher is one of two officers to retire this year. Sgt. Robert Allen retired in May; he joined the department in 1991.
Sterling Police Chief Ron Potthoff had nothing but kind words to say of the two and their work within the department.
Allen now works for the Secretary of State Police, which enforces motor vehicle theft laws and those regulating the automotive industry.
Fargher's new position is training coordinator for the Mobile Training Unit, which offers different types of training to law enforcement agencies in Whiteside, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Carroll, and Jo Daviess counties. It falls under the umbrella of the state-run Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, which, among other things, regulates 16 training units throughout the state.
Bill Walls, formerly with the Dixon Police Department, is retiring as the unit's training coordinator. Fargher steps in at the end of the month.
"My whole career – I can't believe that 26 years has already gone past," Fargher said. "I just enjoyed it. ... Sterling was very good to me. The community was very good. I like Sterling. If you just give people an opportunity to help fix things, they jump on board.
"I guess if I had to say what I enjoyed the most, it’s the people."
"Fargher came up through the ranks," Potthoff said. "He's very competent, very detailed, meticulous, loyal. He cared for the department and the people in it. He's somebody that you could talk to. Very organized. He’ll do really great."
Because of the shifts in the senior police staff, four people have been promoted.
Lt. Tim Morgan is now operations lieutenant, Fargher's old job. Detective Sgt. Steve Hubbard has been promoted to lieutenant. Officer Alex Chavira is now a detective sergeant, and Detective J.D. Sanders is now a sergeant.