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Back to work after a weekend of retirement
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Mark Beckwith, the former Milan chief of police, is now assistant chief of Augustana security.
ROCK ISLAND -- Helping is the part he likes.

Mark Beckwith, 51, of Moline, began his public safety career as an emergency medical technician, then spent 28 years with the Milan Police Department, working his way up to chief. Now, he is assistant chief of public safety at Augustana College.

Helping someone with a problem is a high point of public safety, Mr. Beckwith said. "You are there in the time of need."

He admits that working in public safety at Augustana is a bit different from riding an ambulance or walking a beat. The officers have things they have to handle, but the things are different than those handled in broader law enforcement.

It's also a little more "9 to 5," he said, adding that shifts as a police or fire first responder often are dictated by events rather than set hours.

Law enforcement is a front-row seat to life, he said; sometimes it can be quiet and other times it's gut wrenching. "No two days were the same."

At Augustana, his tasks as assistant chief include investigations as needed, but also handling parking ticket appeals and working on the college's emergency plan, designed to give the campus guidelines for major storms and other events that could affect operations.

He also works with several students who help the Public Safety Office.

Working with them is fulfilling and they will some day step into leadership roles, he said. "You get a lot of energy from students," Mr. Beckwith said.

The Augustana community is an inviting one, with hundreds of employees and thousands of students, all friendly.

"The environment here, the people you work with here, it's awesome."

When Mr. Beckwith retired from the Milan Police Department, he said he took a weekend off, then went right to work for the college. Friday, retire. Saturday through Sunday, retired. Monday, Augustana.

He does have hobbies -- golfing, antiquing -- but much of his off time is devoted to his family. "To me, family is everything," he said.

True retirement could happen, but he has not set a schedule for it.

"I will eventually. I just haven't found that part of my life to do that."





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  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)