Constituent Spotlight: Darryl Stroud
Jul 9, 2013
Only a few days after the Sandy Hook shooting, Police Chief Darryl Stroud led a rapid deployment training drill at Crete-Monee High School to reassure the community and the students that they were protected.
Stroud is a national expert in rapid deployment and the one of the few instructors in Illinois who has conducted multiple live training drills in schools.
“The purpose of the drill was to demonstrate that safety initiatives were in place and that we are committed to maintaining a safe school environment,” said Stroud, who serves as an interim chief in the Chicago south suburbs and has directed training drills for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and many other police departments.
The high school exercise was a collaborative effort between the University Park Police Department and Crete-Monee School District 201-U. George Elrod, assistant superintendent of student affairs, has worked with Stroud for nearly 15 years on numerous safety-preparedness projects within the district.
“Because of these trainings, rapid response teams are now very familiar with our schools and can easily maneuver through them if an incident ever occurs,” Elrod said. “We plan to do more training exercises going forward. Using Darryl’s expertise over the years, we’ve also done safety assessments of all our building that have enhanced the safety of our schools. We can’t thank Darryl enough for everything he’s done to keep our students and teachers safe.”
The expert master firearms instructor and former Marine recently earned a doctorate in business administration and will soon attend Harvard University’s Executive Management Program. He’s also written a leading-edge research paper on “Occupational Attitudes” within law enforcement culture, published in a nationwide scholarly journal.
“I’m very passionate about education,” he said. “I believe in training others today, to prepare them for tomorrow. I always encourage everyone to continue their education, to be well rounded and well trained, so they can grow and develop in our contemporary world.”
Stroud is an avid believer in servant leadership and lives by that principle. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors for Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center and Health Center in Chicago Heights. The center provides vital health and social services for impoverished or uninsured families. Most recently, he and fellow board members presided over the construction of Aunt Martha’s pediatric health and wellness center that will serve up to 9,600 Southland patients per year. Opened June 6, the facility has nine exam rooms and provides both pediatric and mental health care. Stroud’s work has earned him recognition by the National Association of Health Care Governance Leaders.
“Having worked with Darryl for more than 15 years, I have come to know him as a man of honesty and integrity—a man who understands the value of diversity in the South Suburbs, and a man who has repeatedly proven his ability to listen, learn and lead,” said Raul Garza, chief executive officer of Aunt Martha’s.
“Servant leadership rewards people,” Stroud said. “By being part of an organization that grows, members of the organization grow as well. I believe in leading people to their potential—then pushing them to go beyond. It’s in my nature to help others grow.”
In many ways, Stroud sees his life coming full circle. He was trained in law enforcement 20 years ago at the University of Illinois (Champaign) Police Training Institute, graduating with high honors and becoming a team leader. This year, he was appointed president of the Institute’s Alumni Association.
“It’s been amazing journey,” Stroud said. “I was a police cadet lieutenant in University Park when I was in high school—now I’m interim chief. I was on Aunt Martha’s youth board of directors when I was 17 and today I’m a member of the executive board. Later this year I’ll be board president. I feel a great, humble sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in this latest chapter of my life. I’ve dedicated my life to serving my community and have used my education to give back to others.”