Barrows family legacy in Kane County law enforcement spans more than 50 years

Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy retires after 28 year-career

Shawn Barrows (left) and his father, Dave Barrows (right), are both now retired from the Kane County Sheriff Department. Shawn retired June 3, 2024 after 28 years of service.

Former Kane County Sheriff’s deputies and Geneva residents Shawn Barrows, 50, and Dave Barrows, 71, combined gave more than 50 consecutive years to the police force.

Shawn Barrows, Dave’s son, retired June 3.

Shawn Barrows joined the police force in 1996, spending 21 years in the patrol division, three years as a detective and four years in the tactical operations division.

“As far back as I can remember, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a police officer,” Shawn Barrows said.

Shawn Barrows, 2, stands next to his father Dave Barrows' squad car in 1976. Shawn Barrows went on to join law enforcement in 1996 and retired Monday, June 3.

Dave Barrows entered the force in 1974 as a Kane County Sheriff’s deputy and made his way up to being a sheriff’s commander. He retired in 2003.

“When Shawn joined the department, I was already a sheriff’s commander, so we didn’t work side by side,” Dave Barrows said. “He ultimately, you know, through chain of command, worked for me. However, we were on a couple of calls together. We arrested a burglar together.”

For most of Dave Barrow’s career, he worked in patrol. He also led SWAT teams and worked in investigations and corrections.

“All of us grow up thinking that we know things and then when you join law enforcement and you spend the next 20 or 30 years out there confronting people, mostly at their worst, occasionally at their best, but mostly at their worst, you learn an awful lot about human behavior and human nature,” Dave Barrows said.

When Shawn Barrows joined the force, Dave Barrows watched him grow in the career, specifically with his experience being a field training officer.

Shawn Barrows retired from the Kane County Sheriff Department June 3, 2024 after 28 years of service.

“Shawn’s legacy is that for the last 10 years or so, he spent his career instructing officers in tactical operations and firearms and his lasting legacy is going to be all of the officers that survive deadly encounters because they had his training,” Dave Barrows said.

Shawn Barrows found himself enjoying getting to help the community outside of responding to emergency situations.

“I really enjoyed the dealing with the people aspect of it and trying to sort out and help them with their problems and again, I know we can’t do everything and some of the problems we can’t fix, but trying to is what I really enjoyed,” Shawn Barrows said.

Now that he is retired, Shawn Barrows plans to live a simple life in which he can continue to work on his personal skills as well as relax.

“[I want] something simple,” Shawn Barrows said. “Believe it or not, what sticks out is something as simple as Ace Hardware. It sounds cheesy, but I still get to keep up personal skills with people. We have tons of vacations and stuff planned, so right now, I do home projects, cleaning, organizing, just that kind of stuff.”

There also is an opportunity to return to the police force to assist in training, Shawn Barrows said.

“The sheriff did say I could come back and assist with the training stuff, so that might be an option, too,” Shawn Barrows said. “So I might continue, you know, the training aspect of the job, just not actually be a sheriff’s deputy.”

The multifaceted role of law enforcement extends beyond enforcing laws. It’s also about offering support and compassion in diverse community situations, Shawn Barrows said.

“You know, we’re obviously there to enforce the law, [but] we’re there to be human,” Shawn Barrows said. “We help parents with their kids when they can’t deal with them. We’re the ones they call for emergency circumstances. We do the job because we want to help. We can’t do everything, but we can try.”

For information on the Kane County Sheriff’s Department, visit