Springfield City Commission members were unanimous in their praise for Capt. Allison Elliott’s appointment as the new chief of the Springfield Police Division.
Elliott was sworn in Tuesday night as the chief, taking the oath of office to become the city’s first woman to lead the department and receiving a standing ovation in a packed city forum chamber. The crowd, including family, friends and many of her public safety colleagues, celebrated the promotion of the locally born and raised Elliott.
Assistant Mayor Rob Rue expressed excitement “about this opportunity to work with the candidate who rose to the top and stood out above all others. She is the best choice.”
Commissioner David Estrop pointed to the quality and quantity of applicants, 32 in all, observing: “This is a place people want to come to be connected.” Estrop said Elliott gained the job as she rose to the top through a rigorous assessment process.
Commissioner Kevin O’Neill took pride the fact that Elliott has been with the police division for 16 years and brought outstanding qualifications for the chief’s position.
“This speaks to the outstanding officer training program offered by the city,” he said.
Elliott offered remarks after the swearing in, expressing sincere appreciation to city officials for their confidence and support. She acknowledged her predecessor, retiring Chief Lee Graf, for his service to the Springfield community for the last 26 years.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with you. Thank you for believing in me and for your guidance along the way,” she said of Graf.
She also expressed gratitude to the many people who attended the ceremony for taking time from their busy lives during the holiday season to share the moment with her.
“As I stand before you, I do so with a full heart,” Elliott said. “The love and support expressed to me throughout my entire career and this process has been overwhelming. I am humbled. But this day is not just about me…this day is about our community, our organization and the Springfield Police Division coming together and making history, together.”
Elliott said that her life experience to date helped prepare her for this moment.
“I grew up in a home and a family surrounded by strong and independent women who instilled in me at an early age that your work ethic, dedication and commitment to service will speak to who you are,” she said. “My parents always reminded me to trust in the path that God has intended for me and that the sky is the limit. We can do anything if we put our minds to it and speak it into existence.”
Thanking her family and others who played a role in her growth and development to enable her to assume such a leadership position, Elliott made special note of the role her colleagues in the Springfield Police Division family played .
“I cannot say thank you enough for your love, support and guidance and the mentoring over the years that has helped me get where I am today. Thank you,” she said.
She said no one succeeds alone and stressed a team approach.
“My successes will be measured by those whom I serve; not just the citizens of Springfield but the captains, lieutenants, sergeants, officers and civilian members that serve with the police. As we continue forward together, know that I am committed to fostering positive community engagement efforts between the division in our community,” Elliott said.
She promised to seek collaborative partnerships, to improve overall physical and mental health for employees and provide the best service.
“Together, we will work to create a safer Springfield through a multi-faceted approach, and we will do so with accountability, transparency, empathy and understanding,” she said.
Graf, who closes out his career at the end of the year, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve 26 years with the police division. He noted, “You are all in good hands. One of my regrets is that I will not be a part of this team. You are going to do great things.”