21, No. 8, Oct. 18, 2001
Hawley hits the road, but
finds it leads back to department
By Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
by Bill Wiegand
Hawley retired from the UI police department last December
after 26 years of service
Hawley hits the
road, but finds it leads back to department
When Viki Hawley decided to become a UI police officer in the mid-1970s,
police work was considered a mans profession. Hawley, who had
been working as a dispatcher for the department before accepting a position
as a patrol officer, said she knew she could do the job but also knew
she would have to prove herself to her male colleagues before some of
them would accept her in her new role.
That recognition began to come, Hawley said, when on her first night
patrolling without a training officer, she chased two fleeing burglars
down a dark alley near Boneyard Creek, tackled the larger of the two
and emerged with the burly thief in handcuffs.
In December 2000, Hawley retired from the UI police department after
26 years service. Besides having been a dispatcher and a patrol
officer, Hawley also had served as an investigator and had been a member
of the SWAT team as well as a scuba diver on the state underwater recovery
and rescue team.
like I got to do a lot of challenging, different things," Hawley
said. "And I really thought I would miss it because I had so much
involvement not just with the university but with the people in the
community. I was really surprised that I didnt miss it once I
left, so it must have been time for me to leave."
Less than a year into her retirement, however, Hawley is back at the
police department, working 10 hours a week managing evidence. When the
opportunity arose as a result of another retirement this fall, Hawley
wasnt sure she wanted to return, but she finally accepted the
job because she missed being in contact with people throughout the community.
Hawley likes her new role logging and tracking evidence until the items
are used in trials, returned or discarded. Theres far less pressure
than she felt working as an officer; theres no overtime, and she
has more control over her workflow, Hawley said.
In addition to her work at the department, Hawley also has been "playing
catch up around the house," doing the painting, staining and yard
work she didnt have time for before her retirement.
Hawleys retirement also afforded her and her husband, Charles,
whos six years into retirement, the opportunity to take a 6,500-mile
motorcycle trip with friends this past summer. Riding her BMW B-1200
motorcycle is her passion, Hawley said, and shes been an avid
motorcycle rider for more than 30 years.
The Hawleys belong to three motorcycle groups: Twin City Tango, a Champaign-Urbana
club; as well as the Dinky Dozen, a Bloomington group; and the BMW Motorcycle
Association of America, a national organization. Although they belong
to three groups, Hawley said they prefer riding alone and meeting up
with other group members at their destinations.
This summer, she and Charles traversed 15 states and two Canadian provinces,
going as far west as California before riding to Oregon to visit an
old friend and then on to Canada.
The wildfires raging in the western states forced them to take an alternate
route out of Yellowstone National Park, Hawley said, but the spectacular
scenery more than compensated for the change in their plans.
Recently, another abrupt change in their travel plans was brought about
by the Sept. 11 attacks, Hawley said. She and her husband had been planning
to attend her stepsons Oct. 20 wedding in Italy. Some guests
apprehension about international travel prompted the engaged couple
to reschedule their wedding, and the wedding was rescheduled for the
weekend of Oct. 6 in St. Louis.
Asked what plans she has for her retirement, Hawley said she has no
immediate plans other than spending time with family and friends.
"Im having fun, so I guess thats what counts,"