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Winchester police chief hired after extensive search to fill vacancy

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WINCHESTER — After a long hunt and a declined offer, Winchester has found a new police chief for the city — and he has a wealth of law enforcement experience as well as knowledge of Scott County.

“He’s going to be a good candidate and he’s said he wants to get back into law enforcement,” Winchester Mayor Rex McIntyre said.

A special meeting was held Thursday in which McIntyre recommended that the city council hire Steve Doolin as the new police chief and urge the council to elect him.

Council members approved the recommendation and Doolin was sworn in as police chief on Friday morning.

But filling the position was a bit of an arduous search that resulted in an offer being made to former Roodhouse Police Chief Steve Speeks. But, due to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Speeks declined the offer due to the negative impact it would have had on his retirement.

“He wanted to take the offer, but he would retire if he came here,” McIntyre said, adding that on Sept. 9 he announced the offer had been declined after Speeks checked with the secretary of the House. state police about his retirement.

The main reason is that the state pays a higher rate in retirement funds than cities, McIntyre said.

Acting quickly, McIntyre and the city council members quickly remedied the situation and found Doolin who worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections and was previously a deputy in west central Illinois.

“He graduated from Routt and was previously the deputy for Scott County,” McIntyre said.

Moving quickly to fill the void at the city’s police department, McIntyre said he “didn’t want to wait any longer” because even though crime was low in the city, he didn’t want to temper fate by having less. officers. .

With several part-time officers working for the city, along with Doolin there will now be three full-time police officers. But, McIntyre also wants to see that change soon.

“We have three, including Steve, but I would like to have five full-time agents in addition to the part-time ones,” he said.

The post of police chief has been open since August after the resignation of Winchester Police Chief Caleb Handy.