Wednesday, July 28

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Police Chief Rich Montcalm resigns

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[JULY 28, 2004]  Mayor Beth Davis opened, speaking with some difficulty, saying, "The police chief has given his letter of resignation, which I don't really want to take, but I have accepted his letter of resignation that will be effective as of Aug. 15."

Chief Rich Montcalm addressed the council first, thanking the aldermen and Mayor Davis for giving him the opportunity to be police chief of Lincoln. "I've thoroughly enjoyed it, given 150 percent at the job. This is a great town. I'm staying here. It's a great place to raise kids," he said.

"The police department is a team effort. There's no 'I' in our police department. It takes all of us to work together and with the council to achieve a lot of goals. And a lot of goals we have achieved over the last few years."

He said he wanted to list a few of the things that we did together that are outstanding that the council can be proud of.

Chief Montcalm said...

We have:

  • Brought our crime index down 6 percent over the last few years.

  • That's good. I believe that when times get tough, crime goes up.

  • Obtained a Jeep Liberty for our DARE program.

  • Attained computers for missing and exploited children's program.

  • In case a child is missing, there is quicker access to efforts to locate a child. Posters can go throughout Illinois or to other states quickly.

  • Developed the police department Web page.

  • The address is on the back of the new squad cars. It has about 5,000 hits every month. Officers have e-mail through the page.

  • The development of the Emergency Response Team was a large accomplishment.

  • The eight officers on the team are 110 percent dedicated to that and the safety of the community. They come in and train on their time off for the benefit of the community. I think it is vital in law enforcement.

  • The violence prevention program has been extended to fourth grade. It is now in K-4.

  • The DARE program will pilot into kindergarten this coming year.

  • Partnering with our schools is great. I go to so many conferences where I hear people say, "How do you get into your schools? How do you get the teachers to let you in?"

    I believe it is the relationship that we have together as a city with the police department, the council, the schools, the teachers and the parents to allow us into the schools.

    Our kids are our future. We have to put a vested interest in them.

  • Despite working with the council during financial shortfalls that affected the department, the Lincoln Police Department was still one of only two communities south of Interstate 80 to receive a community policing award granted by the Illinois Police Chief's Association. The other award was given to Carbondale.

  • New squad cars were recently acquired. One is on the road; others are being equipped and put on the road in the very near future.

  • A new support group for police officers' wives was formed recently.

  • It is something that I feel is very important within the police department as a whole. It helps wives to understand some of the trauma from the calls the officers go on. Meeting biannually, wives get to know one another and can sit down and talk with each other about issues. The wives now know and can call on each other as needed. The group was formed just in time before an officer was called up for military duty in Iraq.

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The chief said he wanted to thank the mayor, along with the council, in being proactive and allowing our police department in moving forward. He then charged the council: "Continue to move forward. You can never become complacent in law enforcement. As long as you move forward and have vision, I feel we [the department, the city] will continue to be successful.

"I feel the police department in Lincoln is second to none with other towns and cities that are our size. Law enforcement is not an easy job. There are some tough times and we're not going to make everybody happy. But we're going to make the majority of them happy, and we're going to do the best that we can," he said.

Chief Montcalm committed to work with whoever is chosen to take his place. He wants to see programs continue for our youth and senior citizens. He will spend a couple of weeks training his replacement and will continue to make himself available as much as possible for a smooth transition.

Mayor Davis said, "I appreciate all your work. You've been innovative and done a lot of positive things for our community." She invited him to stay involved and continue to be an active part of our community.

Alderman Buzz Busby complimented the chief on his administrative ability and said, "When I had a question you were always quick to respond. Thank you very much."

Having worked with the chief on a number of issues, Alderman Glenn Shelton said, "You have responded in a positive way. You've been a great asset to the total community and Im going to miss you very, very much."

Alderman Derrick Crane said much the same, adding appreciation for everything that Chief Montcalm has done for the department.

Alderman Jonie Tibbs said she had things come up as a new alderman that she needed to go to the chief about. "I would have a response right away," she said. "It would be what I want to hear or I don't want to hear, but it was always there."

Alderman Marty Neitzel said she worked with the chief on the senior council and the underage drinking task forces and said she'll miss him at both those things.

Alderman Benny Huskins said the chief's door has always been open when he had need to work on issues. He felt the chief has taken the police department a long way in the last three years.

Aldermen Verl Prather and Patrick Madigan were absent.

All present wished him well in his new position.

Chief Montcalm will be the chief of security for Memorial Hospital in Springfield beginning on Aug. 16.

[Jan Youngquist]


 

 

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