EUREKA — Al Misener, the sometimes gruff police chief of Eureka for the past 13 years, has retired after a 43-year career in politics and at least two near-death encounters.
But Misener, 66, discounts the many awards he has received, including Officer of the Year in Peoria in 1993.
One of the awards came for his actions while chasing a suspect in Peoria. The former Peoria County sheriff and County Board member still carries 23 pellets from a shotgun blast he took during riots on July 30, 1968.
“They were throwing Molotov cocktails all night at cars going up Adams Street,” Misener said. “A bunch of us started walking up Green Street … and they let go with a shotgun. I was right in the middle. Ten of us got hit; I was the worst. Three of us were in the hospital three days and we were out.”
Police didn’t wear bullet proof vests then, but he did have a helmet with a shield. He eventually carried a protective vest in his car, but never became comfortable with them.
Misener grew up in Mazon, a town of about 800 people north of Dwight. He moved to Peoria to become a barber, saw an ad for the police force and joined the department in 1967.
He worked third-shift patrol and a variety of other assignments and was active in the Police Benevolent, including four years as president of the state association.
Misener was the first police officer elected to the Peoria County Board in 1982 and was a Limestone Township trustee. He was appointed sheriff in May 1993 when George Shadid was appointed state senator. That term ended in December 1994.
He worked for two years with a private investigative firm before coming to Eureka in 1997. During his off hours, he held many part-time security jobs and was involved in the restaurant business with Char, his wife of 30 years.
Misener has two sons from a previous marriage, six stepchildren, 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He continues as treasurer of the Peoria Police Retirees and the Happy Hollow Lake Association, where he has been remodeling a summer home.
“I’ve had a good career,” Misener said. “I’ve gotten a few awards. I’ve been involved in politics and the Benevolent association and it’s just it’s been a good life.”