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Sara L. Darrow has become the chief judge for the federal U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, the first woman to hold the position.

Darrow took the position on Tuesday, replacing James Shadid, according to a district news release. Shadid, who served as chief judge for seven years, remains an active judge in the district. The central district has courthouses in the Quad-Cities, Peoria and Springfield.

She was nominated in 2011 by then President Barack Obama and has been serving as a district court judge, the release states. The nomination was at the recommendation of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

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For eight years before becoming a judge, Darrow was a federal prosecutor in the district’s Rock Island branch and coordinated two programs: Project Safe Neighborhoods and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Project Safe Neighborhoods targeted gun crimes, while the task force was focused on large-scale drug trafficking, the news release states.

Darrow was a prosecutor in Henry County from 1999 to 2003, attaining the rank of first assistant state’s attorney, the release states. She earned her undergraduate degree at Marquette University, while her law degree is from the St. Louis University School of Law.

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