Moline plans to bring in a retired police officer from Champaign, Illinois, to lead the city's police department until a permanent replacement is found for former chief John Hitchcock.
Robert T. Finney is expected to begin as interim chief on Nov. 19, pending final approval of the contract by the city council, according to a news release. The council's vote is expected Tuesday.
Finney would replace Lt. Dave Gass, who has led the department since Hitchcock was placed on leave. The release states that vacancies in the department require Gass to return to his normal duties in the services division.
Finney was identified as a candidate with the assistance of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the release states
Hitchcock was stopped the evening of Sept. 7 by an Iowa State Patrol trooper who clocked him going 90 mph in a 65-mph zone near mile marker 131 on southbound U.S. 61 in Scott County, according to authorities. Hitchcock was taken to the Eldridge Police Department, where a test recorded his blood alcohol content at .201. Hitchcock was cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, first offense.
He was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation by Moline, and he retired a few weeks later. Hitchcock has since pleaded guilty to the charge.
Finney has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement. He served as the chief in Carbondale, Illinois, from 1999 until 2003 and in Champaign from 2003 to 2012, when he retired, according to the release. Since his retirement, he has served as an interim chief for several Illinois departments, including in East Peoria and Bloomington.
His education includes a master's degree from Western Illinois University and completion of Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command, the release states. Finney has also completed the FBI National Academy, and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development course.
As interim, Finney's salary would be a weekly $2,600 and he will live in Moline, the release states. He is expected to serve until the completion of a search for Hitchcock's replacement. That search is expected complete by February.
Gass will serve as interim until Finney's start date, the release states.
In the release, Doug Maxeiner, Moline city administrator, commended Gass for his leadership in the weeks after Hitchcock went on leave.
Two other ranking Moline police officers, Capt. Trevor Fisk and Capt. Brian Johnson, were with Hitchcock at the time of the traffic stop, according to the city. The two captains also were placed on administrative leave for several weeks before being suspended for five days.
The captains cooperated with the Iowa authorities and the ensuing investigation, and there was no indication they did anything illegal, but they witnessed Hitchcock drinking and did not stop him from driving, Maxeiner has said. Hitchcock also cooperated during the traffic stop and in the investigation.
Scott County Judge Mark Fowler sentenced Hitchcock on Wednesday to a 120-day jail sentence with all but two days suspended and a $1,250 fine, with half of the amount suspended, according to Scott County court records. He must serve a period of in-home detention, and a year of unsupervised probation.
The judge also ordered Hitchcock to complete a substance abuse evaluation and any resulting treatment and he must also complete the Iowa Course for Drinking Drivers.