She said she was going to take some time and read through some of
her notes. "I feel I have to explain some of these things," she
In May of 2006, Logan County State's Attorney Timothy J.
Huyett issued a memorandum to the mayor concerning issues he had
with the police department. The mayor first shared that information
with Police Chief Robert Rawlins and city attorney Bill Bates.
Davis said that they determined to hire a professional to look
into each of the alleged discrepancies and suggested needs for
improvement. They looked for someone unbiased, well-versed in police
affairs and with the temperament to withstand the controversy if
media caught the memorandum prior to the issues being addressed.
In executive session in November, eight of 10 members of the city
council were apprised of the memorandum and the plan for how to
In December the council approved hiring a consultant. Stuart
Erlenbush, a retired Illinois state policeman with strong drug
enforcement and internal affairs experience, homeland security
background, and membership on the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, was
hired to do an internal audit of the police department.
Eight days after Erlenbush was hired, a news media made the
contents of the confidential memorandum public. The mayor said that
the release of that information led to "a public relations
nightmare." It caused a chain reaction felt in City Hall, the police
department, the city of Lincoln, all across Illinois and several
The mayor said that Rawlins first gave her his resignation on
Nov. 27, but she would not accept it at that time. He was part of
the situation, not the source of the situation by any means,
she said. She asked the chief to see it through to a final report,
and he agreed, next tendering his resignation effective April 30.
[to top of second column]
The council determined then that it would be best to look for the
new administrator from outside the department, and a search began,
looking all across Illinois.
To look outside the department is against general policy of the
city, as it is recognized that bringing an outsider in creates a
number if undesired effects: extensive workload, steep learning
curve, potential animosity, and lack of cooperation and brain drain
within the department.
The mayor said that she had a thought that was a long shot. She
asked Erlenbush if he would take the position as interim. She said
she knew this to be "not conventional." But she looked at all the
factors, including that he knew the officers, he's worked with the
state's attorney, he pinpointed the 19 areas of correction, and he
could help continue the search for a new chief.
Erlenbush lives nine miles outside Lincoln, meeting the 10-mile
When she asked, he flat-out refused. Eventually he did agree to a
one-year interim position, effective immediately.
There were two objectors on the council. Alderman Benny Huskins
advocated that he believed in choosing from the department. Alderman
Verl Prather, who works in corrections, questioned his own feelings
of how ethical or appropriate it would be to hire someone who did an
internal investigation. Both men agreed to the capabilities and
qualities that Erlenbush possesses and has demonstrated.
The mayor said she believes that Erlenbush would gain back the
respect the police department deserves. He just wants to see this
department sparkle, she said. He possesses the knowledge to improve
our department's standards, address the state attorney and bring
back respectability to the city, county and state, she said.