City Manager to Appoint Matthew Henson to Serve as Interim Chief of Police


City Manager Dorothy Ann David will appoint Champaign Deputy Police Chief Matthew Henson to serve as Interim Chief of Police effective August 6, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. Henson will serve as Interim Chief upon the departure of Chief Anthony Cobb until a new Chief is appointed.

“Deputy Chief Henson has served our City well for over 20 years.  He is respected within the Police Department and our community for his leadership, work ethic and professionalism,” said David.  “He fully understands the high expectations that our community has for the office of Police Chief. Matt is a person of great integrity who takes his commitment to public service very seriously. He is the right leader to continue to move our department forward during this time of transition.”

Henson began with the Champaign Police Department in 2001. Throughout his 20-year career at the Champaign Police Department, Henson has progressed through the ranks as a Patrol Officer, Patrol Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant, and Investigations Lieutenant. In February 2021, Chief of Police Anthony Cobb appointed Henson to the position of Deputy Chief of Operational Support and Professional Standards, where he has overseen professional standards, internal affairs and the citizen complaint process, the criminal investigations division, police services unit and fiscal administration. Henson began his law enforcement career in 1995 with the Arcola Police Department and Charleston Police Department before joining the Champaign Police Department.

As a member on Chief Cobb’s senior leadership team, Henson has worked to foster community collaboration as an active participant in the Champaign County Community Coalition and through the police-community listening sessions. He has partnered with the City’s Neighborhood Services Department to address neighborhood-based problems, share information with residents and improve quality of life.

In 2018, Chief of Police Anthony Cobb named him the recipient of the Chief’s Distinguished Leadership Award for his commitment to excellence and displaying the effective management and development of his employees. Henson was the Champaign Police Department Officer of the Year in 2007 and the Charleston Police Department Officer of the Year in 2000.

“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity the City Manager has entrusted me with, and I look forward to building upon our department’s important work in partnership with all of our officers, residents, neighborhoods, and businesses,” said Henson. “Throughout this transition, I am committed to ensuring we maintain a high level of service and that our decisions are informed by community input. I am also committed to promoting officer well-being and ensuring our talented officers are set up for success. I would like to thank Chief Cobb for his guidance and leadership, and I will continue to work with the community and our officers so we can all move forward together.”

Henson is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice with a minor in Sociology and Psychology. Upon promotion to the rank of lieutenant, he completed an advanced leadership development program at the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville.

On July 8, 2021, Chief of Police Anthony Cobb announced his resignation, effective August 6, 2021. On July 21, David announced the launch of a national recruitment process for the next Chief of Police. Henson has informed the City Manager he will not apply to be a candidate for the permanent Chief of Police position.

Henson will work closely with Chief Cobb prior to his departure to ensure an effective transition.