CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WEEK) – Nine of Illinois’ 15 largest cities are search for, or have recently hired, a new police chief, including Peoria and Bloomington.
Although unusual, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police says it’s likely a coincidence.
“I think that probably each chief makes a decision on his own or her own about what he wants to do with his career and when,” Ed Wojcicki, Executive Director of Illinois Chiefs of Police, said. “It might just be that they’re all converging at the same time.”
But one thing’s for sure, being a police chief isn’t easy.
“Dealing with the perceptions of communities, the amount of grief that they get from communities, which is increasing and they want to do a good job by their officers,” Wojcicki said.
One of the most important things for any new chief is recruiting.
“One of the challenges for chiefs because of the law and because of the climate in the country about law enforcement is that it’s becoming suddenly more difficult to recruit larger numbers of people into law enforcement,” Wojcicki said.
Bloomington’s search for a new top cop has been going on for months. Now, it’s down to the two finalists, both of whom are coming to town next week.
“We have a community that has greater expectations,” Tim Gleason, Bloomington City Manager, said. “It’s critical to have a police department that’s reflective of the community that it serves than ever before and they need to know that they’ve got a police chief that is willing to have this ongoing conversation of how do we improve the relationship between the police and the community.”
But the process looks different for each city, and there’s no shortage of qualified candidates.
“I think as we started this process and we did a nationwide search we wanted to find the best candidate for Peoria and we feel that we did that,” Patrick Urich, Peoria City Manager, said.
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