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Behind the Badge with Chief Anthony Cobb

CHAMPAIGN -- The man in charge of the Champaign Police Department is Chief Anthony Cobb.
CHAMPAIGN -- The man in charge of the Champaign Police Department is Chief Anthony Cobb. His roots start right here in Champaign-Urbana. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine introduces the man Behind the Badge.

This is where Chief Cobb spends most of his time; right here at the Champaign Police Department. But, his road to the top wasn't an easy one.

January 9, 1970, the world met Anthony Cobb for the first time. At an early age, he knew exactly what he wanted out of life. His mother raised five boys by herself.

"My dad, when he left, he left, I think I saw him three times from the time I was 6 to the time I was grown."

Instead of turning to the streets, he got involved at the Boys and Girls Club.

"A lot of guys, when I was growing up, didn't have dads in the house, so that was nice to have a mentor, a male influence around you."

That carried over to high school.

"I was active, captain of my football team in high school, student body class council, my class president. I wasn't one that got in trouble with the police a lot. I had a juvenile record, made some mistakes in life, but there was hope for me and a lot of people kept me on the straight and narrow."

Cobb's mother thought he would be headed to ISU for college, but he had other plans.

"I didn't know about West Point until he came to me with a ticket."

After his stay at West Point, Cobb came home and joined the Urbana Police Department.

"I believe I had a duty and an obligation to give back to those that gave back to me."

He pays it forward by mentoring.

"I remembered some of the boys that he mentored. Some of them made it. Some of them didn't, but he put his best foot forward. He did all he could for them. I think he's doing with his kids what he wished his father would have done for him."

Cobb became Champaign Police Chief in 2012, becoming only the second African-American to do it.

"I never thought he would be one in Champaign-Urbana. I thought he would be somewhere else."

For Cobb, there's no better place to protect and serve. The chief has two children of whom he's very proud. His oldest heads to college in the fall.
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