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Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington will hand in his badge and gun on May 31, marking the end of a police career that began in February 1977.

Redington and his wife, Linda, have decided to retire at the same time to give them more flexibility to spend time with their family.

"We're looking forward to traveling a little bit," Redington said. "We have four grandkids now in Seattle and Des Moines and our youngest son and his wife are expecting our fifth grandchild in April, so we're looking forward to taking off whenever we want to see them."

Beyond having spent more than 40 years at the department, Redington will be entering his 25th year as the police chief since he was appointed by then-mayor Ann Hutchinson.

For a career that has lasted so long, Redington said that he's only once thought of leaving the department.

"I was fortunate here with the assignments I had as a Bettendorf police officer that it all fell into place," Redington said. "If I had it all to do over again, I would apply with the Bettendorf Police Department and the city of Bettendorf and do it all over again."

While Redington has outlasted all of the members of the police department he grew up in, with the exception of City Administrator Decker Ploehn, he's left an indelible mark on the people he interacted with for his calm demeanor and humility.

Ploehn called Redington the "consummate professional."

"The best way I could describe him is like the T-shirt, 'Be calm and carry on,'" Ploehn said. "He's not excitable, but he's the coolest, steadiest performer, very calm and collected, astute and very decisive. It's what you want in any kind of manager and he's just the epitome of that."

Jim Sweeney, Redington's roommate at St. Ambrose University who was  hired by the department on the same day, echoed the sentiments.

"He's got an incredibly dry sense of humor and you would never see that on the outside, but once you got him going, he's great," Sweeney said. "He's so mild-mannered and there's no excitement on his face. I'll remember that the most."

What you wouldn't know about Redington, because he's tried to downplay his abilities, was that he was an accomplished basketball player coming out of Galesburg High School.

Ploehn and Sweeney recalled he "could jump out of the gym," but Redington said he chose the right profession.

"Being a police chief and police officer is where I needed to be, not playing basketball," Redington said, as he laughed.  

Redington's modesty was also evident as he said, coupled with the department's low turnover rate and development programs, the department "pretty much runs itself" and called himself "very replaceable."

"If it wasn't for the employees that work here for the city, I wouldn't have lasted that long," Redington said. "You have to have really good employees that understand what Bettendorf is about and have the right attitude and culture built-in that you're going to do whatever you can for the citizens."

With late night meetings and the time commitments from the job, Redington said he wouldn't have been able to last without having an understanding and supportive family, including his wife and three children, Ryan, Jeff and Andy.

Ploehn said the next police chief will likely be an internal candidate from its command staff, probably chosen by a committee of department heads and council members. 

"We'd like to be in the middle of it by January," Ploehn said, "so that the new chief can be part of the budget process. It fits within our succession planning, and we think we've got people developed."

While Redington still has several months left on the job, he said he anticipates missing the interactions with people as part of the job, from city employees to talking with members of the public.

Redington said, on reflection, that a number of other people could have been in his position and hoped people start calling him by his name, not his position.

"I'll really miss the people what work here, the friendships I've gained that I think will be longtime friendships, and I hope the employees here don't look at me strictly as the chief," Redington said. "I'd prefer for people to call me Phil."