Moline city leaders hope to hire new chief within 3 months

MOLINE-- The process to find a new police chief in Moline may be easier than you'd think.

Just a day after former Chief John Hitchcock announces his retirement after being cited for an OWI, the city is looking to see what's next for the department.

"Unbelievably tough discussions, this whole process has been incredibly tough," says Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner.

Maxeiner had all the confidence in the world when John Hitchcock was sworn in as chief of police.

"He had a spotless record before the first part of September, and he made a horrible decision," says Maxeiner.

Last month Hitchcock was pulled over by Iowa State Patrol with two Moline police captains in the back seat, and charged with an OWI.

On Monday Hitchcock announced his immediate retirement. To some in Moline, it's the best case scenario.

"It's probably best he does retire because I don't think people will look at him the same way as they did before," says Moline resident Kay King.

"I think ultimately it was the right decision for the department moving forward," says Maxeiner.

Maxeiner says he could have fired Hitchcock or given him some sort of punishment, but ultimately, he says Hitchcock made the decision with the department and community top of mind.

"He really wanted to get them out of the negative limelight and move the department forward, so that was his parting gift for the department and the city," says Maxeiner.

Leaving on these terms, Hitchcock will receive his full pension from the state. Maxeiner says the city had no control over that decision.

"I'm sure in some peoples minds, there will continue to be a stigma attached to that, but I think the professionalism of the entire department will overcome that and move forward," says Maxeiner.

When the city picked Hitchcock as chief, they hired an outside recruiting company out of Northbrook, Illinois to find candidates in an extensive search. But since John Hitchcock was chief for less than two years, that company promises to come back in and do the same search at minimal cost, a chief selecting guarantee in a way.

The city hopes to find a new chief within three months. The acting chief right now is Lieutenant David Gass.

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