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Interim Ill. chief wants to return to patrol

Tony Patterson, who has been serving as interim police chief for six months, plans to remain on the police force as a patrolman

By Maria Nagle
Jacksonville Journal-Courier, Ill.

BEARDSTOWN, Ill. — A new police chief for Beardstown has been hired, but Mayor Steve Patterson is not disclosing his name until an announcement Monday.

The new chief asked for the delay so he could inform his current employer of his decision to take the position, Patterson said Friday.

Patterson's brother, Tony Patterson, has been serving as interim police chief for six months, but he told the Journal-Courier that, for personal reasons, he did not want the position.

"Next week, for sure, I'm not going to be in the chief's position," Tony Patterson said. "It's my own decision. No one is pressuring me to step aside. As the chief, I had a lot going on and I just want to step away from that."

Patterson plans to remain on the police force as a patrolman.

"I will be on days, but I won't be working in the capacity of chief," he said.

Tony Patterson had been serving as acting police chief since his appointment by former Mayor Bob Walters in January, when the city's police chief, Tom Schlueter, went out on an indefinite leave of absence for medical reasons.

Steve Patterson — who was elected in April to succeed Walters as mayor — relieved Schlueter of his duties as chief about two weeks ago.

The mayor said he needed to move forward in finding a police chief.

"We've been without a chief for six months. We can't wait around any longer," Steve Patterson said. "We need to get some stability in there for the sake of the police force."

Schlueter remains on paid leave while the city awaits a decision on whether his workman's compensation claim will be approved, the mayor said. The nature of Schlueter's illness has not been disclosed.

Schlueter's removal as chief came on the heels of an internal audit of the police department, but the mayor has not said if it had anything to do with Schlueter, who had served as police chief since January 2003. He succeeded Steve Patterson as chief.

Copyright 2013 Jacksonville Journal-Courier

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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