Welcome to Mahomet: Newest police officer Tom Favot is here to help

Aiming to build a rapport with the community, the Mahomet Police Department's newest officer hit the ground running with his now six-month stint in the blue uniform.

Meet officer Tom Favot, a University of Windsor (Windsor, Ontario) graduate who studied criminology.

Though he began his college career as a business major, it only took one semester for Favot to realize that "pencil pushing" just wasn't for him.

"I went into college not really knowing what I wanted to do," Favot said. "I knew I was never a 9 to 5 office type of guy. I had a few friends in the criminal justice program, and even at that point, I didn't realize this was 100 percent what I wanted to be, but I got interested in it and did a couple of ride-alongs with the local PD."

Breaking free of the mundane routine, Favot's law enforcement career brought him and his family, which now consists of his fiancee and three children, to Champaign, where he served as an officer at Parkland College.

While he enjoyed his time at Parkland and working alongside the faculty, Favot also expressed his dealings with the stereotyping of policing.

"In Champaign, the public that we dealt with was just very different. You were just looked at kind of in a negative light," he said. "Here what's super different is you're driving down the street and people wave at you and it's a genuine wave, you know, 'how you doing.'"

At Parkland, Favot quickly fell into the routine of not responding to waves from people as he shared they were often "facetious." Now in Mahomet, he is happily adjusting to the genuine community support of the police department.

"Here I get it all the time and now I've gotten used to it," Favot said. "But in the beginning, I would just see people wave and I wouldn't wave back, and I said that's not the persona I want to give off so now I'm really good at waving back at everybody."

Favot's favorite policing duty is helping people.

"It's just a good feeling," he said.

Often overlooked by bigger cities with larger departments are petty crimes, which Favot takes satisfaction in knowing the Mahomet Police Department's effort to assist every victim — no matter the size of the crime.

"I like helping people," Favot said. "I like when people are in need and they call the police. If you can make them feel better or solve a crime, it's a good feeling."

He also enjoys receiving countless thank-yous when he is able to solve a theft report or other petty crimes.

"You can hear the emotion in their voice," he said. "It just makes you feel good."

Referring to himself as a huge sports fan, Favot's favorites include golf and personal training.

"I'm kind of a fitness guru," he joked.

He's also a family man. With three children ranging from 5 months old to 5 years old, Favot also noted his family as taking an enormous role in his life.

"Having kids is a game changer, and once you have them, your priorities, or what you thought was important in life, really do change. It becomes all about the kids."

Favot's main goal with the police department is to build a relationship with the community. He welcomes residents to stop by and say hello if they notice him out and about.

Eager to take his approachable attitude into the line of duty, Favot hopes his efforts lessen the impact of negative publicity about policing.

"If you can change that one person at a time, one day at a time and make people think, 'You know that officer wasn't too bad,' it's a good feeling," he said.

Though he personally has yet to experience negative connotations with the uniform, Favot said other officers told him people often see no difference between the brown and blue uniforms, which distinguishes the Champaign County, state or even Mahomet police officers.

"At the end of the day, we're all humans and different on the inside," he said. "Just because you've dealt with three officers and you felt that they were disrespectful of you, give me the benefit of the doubt and judge how our interaction goes at the end. Don't go into it thinking, 'Great, he's wearing a badge and a gun so he must be one of them.'"

Favot is confident that none of the officers at the Mahomet Police Department interact with those they encounter disrespectfully; however, he asks locals let his actions speak for themselves.

Favot's approach is to treat everyone with respect, regardless if he is on or off duty.

"Criminals are people, too," he said. "I treat every call like that (respectfully) knowing that if I'm walking through the store with my wife and my kids, I want the person that I arrested a month ago to point to his wife and say, 'Hey, there's the Mahomet officer who arrested me. He, unlike other officers that dealt with me before, he treated me fair and he seems to be a good guy.' That's a win in my book."

Favot hopes to purchase a home in Mahomet soon and serve a long career with the village. He is committed to the department and welcomes any resident to spark friendly conversation with him. To contact officer Favot, call the nonemergency police number at 217-586-5533.

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