Mike Button became Creve Coeur’s chief in 2002 after a long career with the Peoria Police Department. The big-city and small-town departments couldn’t be more different, but Button says he met his goals in Creve Coeur.
Button wanted the department to be community-oriented with the strongest focus on developing relationships with the citizens and business owners. He wanted a department of which both his officers and the community would be proud.
Button retired Saturday after 10 years of service.
“I didn’t want to retire on Friday the 13th, so I waited until Saturday,” said Button jokingly. “I would say my most noticeable accomplishments are the new building and the community relationships we have built.
“We are geared toward public service. We have changed the image of Creve Coeur. We have one of the nicest departments around for the size of our town. That helps officer morale. I want people to feel comfortable to come in.”
Former East Peoria Deputy Chief Pete Fisher is the new police chief, with Button’s recommendation. Button said that he and Fisher have known one another for many years and that Fisher shares the same vision for the department.
Button said the Creve Coeur Police Department doesn’t have a detective section, and it doesn’t have a forensic lab or any of the fancy frills of larger departments. The officers there are uniformed officers with patrol and traffic duties.
Salaries are limited because of the size and composition of the town. Of the nine officers working at the Creve Coeur Police Department when Button came, only one remains, said Button. Button said he knows they have families to feed and other obligations, so he’s never held it against them.
“I had some really good officers here when I came,” said Button. “They had the opportunity to go to larger departments for more money and better opportunities.”
Prior to his departure, the Creve Coeur Village Board granted his request for two new officers. The department wanted three officers, but two were granted. Button was pleased with the board’s decision, but salaries are still an issue in the competition for good officers.
“The turnover of officers is not going to end,” said Button. He said the economy is playing a part in that.
Button served as a Peoria police officer, rising through the ranks to the position of deputy chief.
In his 40 years of experience, he says one case will always stand out for him — that of a young girl abducted from her bus stop who was raped repeatedly by two men before she managed to escape from them.
“I’m a police officer and a parent,” said Button. “The trauma she went through — that will probably have an effect on me for the rest of my life.
“Anytime you deal with families and children someone is left behind. You have to find ways to deal with it. I’ve found that 5 percent of the population are repeat offenders. The other 95 percent of the time we are dealing with working families. I treat them with respect and they respect me.”
Button said he plans to spend a lot of time with his grandchildren and do some fishing after retirement.
“I appreciate all the people who got me where I am,” said Button. “I couldn’t have done it on my own.
“I’ve had tremendous support from my family. I’ve missed out on a lot of things that I certainly can’t make up. I have been extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful group of people support me.”
Fisher worked for about one week with Button to get up to speed on things within the department. Fisher retired from the East Peoria Police Department on July 1, 2009. He served with that department for almost 30 years. He held every rank while on the EPPD.
Already he is thinking ahead about the future of the department. He said Button left the department is great shape.
Two things stood out in his mind as he pondered taking the position with Creve Coeur, he said — the excellent staff and the new building. He said he has a little different look on the chief’s position that other candidates may have had.
“I grew up in Creve Coeur and I have a sense of worth here,” said Fisher. “I have a little more feeling for the community.”
Fisher said one of his goals is to continue the professional development of the department.
“I want them to be the best officers they can be, especially when it comes to training,” said Fisher. He said if his officers find it necessary to move on, then other departments will find them to be quality officers. If they decide to stay, all the better.
Fisher will be a working chief, just as Button was. He will assume patrol duties in the daytime hours — something that Fisher said he is looking forward to.
“The backbone of every police agency is patrol,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time on patrol.” He said he is going back to what he loves.
Fisher said the new officers’ testing will be Saturday and a list will be given to him to choose from. He said the department has been short of officers for several months, if not years. He said Button timed his departure to make sure Fisher was a part of the hiring process.
The salary of the new officers is not known yet. Fisher said it will depend on their experience and other factors.
“I am hoping to get by as cost effectively as I can, but I hope to get the best candidates I can get,” he said.
Fisher said he is anxious to get things rolling. He said he is looking forward to meeting the citizens and business owners.
Category: The New Chief