Princeville’s new deputy on the beat

For The Weekly Post

PRINCEVILLE – There’s a new sheriff in town. Well, a new sheriff’s deputy in town, to be precise.
Vince Cogdal took over last week as the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office regular representative on Princeville byways. He succeeded Gabe Martinez, who moved to another assignment.

Cogdal introduced himself to the Princeville Village Board during its meeting Jan. 3. He’ll be the usual officer on duty five days a week, under a renewed contract the board approved last month. That deal reduced regular coverage from seven days a week.

“He’s just learning the village and said he’s very community oriented, so he’s wanting to get out and meet people,” Village President Jeff Troutman said about Cogdal.

About himself, Cogdal said community policing is his forte. Before his move to Princeville, the 38-year-old spent two years as the sheriff’s dedicated officer in Bellevue. When Martinez’s spot in Princeville came open, Cogdal applied for it.

“I chose Princeville for a couple of reasons – the schedule and days off, but specifically for how welcoming and police-appreciative (the) community is,” Cogdal stated. “I have never seen such a pro-police community in my life, and I appreciate that more than anyone.”

A Peoria native, Cogdal served in the U.S. Navy and graduated from Western Illinois University. He also worked for the Illinois and Missouri departments of corrections. He became a Peoria Park District police officer in 2016 and joined the sheriff’s office in July 2019.

Cogdal is married with two teenage children. He suggested his background might not reflect his current job.

“I had a very diverse childhood,” Cogdal stated. “For all intents and purposes, statistically I should have never become a police officer. … I enjoy trying to connect with the kids. I believe that is from all of my run-ins with, and breaks given by, the police when I was a kid.”

Cogdal told the board he isn’t big on issuing citations but will do so for recidivists who receive a warning. He said he’ll try to educate first.

“I think Princeville will really enjoy him,” Sheriff Chris Watkins said.

Cogdal’s appearance might have been the highlight of the board meeting, which Troutman said lasted less than 20 minutes.

A joint meeting among the boards of the village, the school district, the Lillie M. Evans Library District and the Princeville Civic Association has been rescheduled to Jan. 26 at the library, according to Troutman. It was to be held Jan. 19.

The twice-yearly meeting provides public updates on what each entity has been doing and what might be in store, among other things.