BATAVIA – Michelle Langston is making history in Batavia as the police department’s first woman promoted to sergeant.
“It’s a very unique feeling. The moment has really hit me,” Langston said shortly after she took the oath of office from Mayor Jeff Schielke in front of the Batavia City Council on Sept. 7. “I want to set the tone for the future,” she said.
Police work literally runs in Langston’s blood.
Her father, Michael Langston, is a retired commander with the Aurora Police Department while her brother Gary Langston is an Aurora police officer. Grandfather Larry Langston served many years ago as chief of Aurora police. Her cousin Jason Langston serves with the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office.
And, Langston’s husband is Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Salava.
“We always have a lot to talk about,” Langston said, smiling. “We have a lot in common with our professional lives. Our jobs are different than they used to be.”
The difference comes from changes in society and how police officers are perceived. Like all of her fellow Batavia officers, Langston now wears a video camera, conspicuously placed on the front of her bullet-proof vest.
“The cameras help us show that we are doing a good job,” Langston said, confidently.
Langston attended Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Her plan while in school had been to become the CEO of a big corporation, but by the time she reached her junior year, it just didn’t feel right.
“I thought, this isn’t for me,” Langston said, and she set her sights on a career in law enforcement.
“It was in my blood,” Langston said. “I made the right choice. I don’t think I would be happy doing anything else.”
Langston joined the Batavia force in 2008 and quickly demonstrated her abilities.
After starting as a patrol officer, she served as a detective, as a patrol officer-in-charge and then investigations unit officer-in-charge.
The department’s top brass soon recognized Langston’s skill with firearms, making her a senior range instructor with the marksmanship unit, teaching pistol tactics. She earned the designation of master firearms instructor with the Police Training Institute in Champaign-Urbana.
Among other distinctions, Langston is a master patrol officer within the Batavia department. She also serves as a public information officer.
Langston, 37, is now a field supervisor in charge of the patrol division’s afternoon shift.
Even with her sergeant’s stripes and a supervisory role, Langston is still on patrol and doing what she likes best, which is interacting with the public.
“I like talking to people and being involved with the public,” Langston said. “I like helping people. It’s rewarding.”
Schielke clearly was elated by the historic moment as he administered the oath to Langston.
“Your way of dealing with people is a masterful wonder,” Schielke said. “I’m pleased that I’m the first mayor to promote a woman in the Batavia Police Department.”
The vacancy in the sergeant’s ranks resulted from the promotion of Eric Blowers to deputy chief of administration. Blowers replaced Glenn Authenrieth, who retired.
In turn, Langston’s promotion to sergeant created a vacancy in the patrol officer ranks, which the department has moved quickly to fill.
Immediately after administering the oath to Langston, Schielke swore in Jacob Wollenweber as a probationary patrol officer.
Wollenweber is a graduate of West Aurora High School and earned an associate of arts degree from Waubonsee Community College in 2016.
A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Wollenweber served on active duty from 2009 to 2013. He is set to begin training this month with the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy.