Lyons exits as Braidwood Police Chief

Marney Simon

After 33 years in law enforcement, Braidwood Police Chief Todd Lyons has left the police force.

When asked by the Braidwood Journal what prompted his decision to leave, Lyons said Mayor Karen Hart approached him on Tuesday, Oct. 10 asking him to consider retirement, effective immediately.

Lyons said it was not necessarily an expected move, though he was not surprised since he’s been working without a contract since May.

“She (Hart) asked me to retire, she said it might be best for everyone and the citizens of Braidwood,” Lyons said. “I was surprised but not surprised because I was never given a contract. I wasn’t totally thrown off because they didn’t renew my contract after the city administrator was given a contract.”

The chief was first appointed under Mayor Bob Jones in 2019, and was re-appointed to the position after Hart was sworn in as mayor in May. While a contract agreement was placed on the agenda for a vote from the full City Council over the summer, that agreement was tabled, and never brought back for a vote.

Lyons said there is no bitterness in his departure, but rather a sense that he helped build up and serve the community that he loves.

“It was a true honor to be the police chief in the community where I raised my family and my kids, it was just a great opportunity,” Lyons said. “I am at peace with it. I’ve been in law enforcement for 33 years and I’m honored that I got to be the chief of police in the town where I raised my family. I love this community, I love this town, and I think I can do more things down the road. So, if there’s not a viable candidate that’s going to run for mayor, I’ll probably run for mayor.”

A special election to fill the remainder of former Mayor Chris Earley’s seat is slated for spring of 2025.

Lyons said he’s worked hard improve the culture of the police department, and hopes to continue that work in some capacity. In addition to being the chief of police, Lyons has served on the school board, worked as a Reed-Custer football coach, and helped start the Junior Comets.

“This is my community, I really care about it, I want it to be the best place where people want to live here,” he said. “That’s been my goal as the chief of police, I want people to be proud of their community.”

Lyons also said that he recommended that Sgt. Bret Goodwin replace him in the top role.

“I’m excited for Bret Goodwin to get this opportunity, he’s a good man, he’s been with the department over 20 years,” Lyons said.

“I loved being the chief of Braidwood, I really wanted to make it better,” Lyons said, adding that he feels he’s connected with the community. “I don’t mind retiring, I really don’t. I’m at peace with it. I loved the job, I loved the opportunity, and I am really, truly honored. I am 100% at peace with it.”