Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell is leaving his job amid an investigation into his alleged misconduct involving a female subordinate, the Peoria Journal Star reports.
The paper said City Hall was investigating Mitchell after complaints of "inappropriate behavior" with a female employee. Sources told the Journal Star that Mitchell stepped down under pressure as the investigation was wrapping up.
Mitchell has served as chief since 2014, when he replaced Steve Settingsgaard.
In an interview with Peoria Public Radio Friday, Mitchell said the woman in question "was someone very qualified to do the job for which she was hired." He told the radio station he couldn't comment on the current allegations.
Mitchell also told Peoria Public Radio he had been considering retirement since the Eddie Russell Jr. officer-involved shooting last fall, and with the recent officer-involved shooting of Daniel El just a few months later, it is time for him to go.
Peoria At-Large Councilwoman Beth Akeson said she was "completely blindsided" by the situation.
“I don’t understand why the council was not given the courtesy to know there was an investigation," she said.
Second District Councilman Chuck Grayeb made a brief statement on Facebook.
"With the departure of Jerry Mitchell, Peoria has a new Acting Police Superintendent. Loren Marion has already assumed these duties. He has been Assistant Police Superintendent. We wish him the best. Much work needs to be done," said Grayeb.
We are working to independently verify the Journal Star's reporting on the investigation.
In a statement Friday afternoon, the City of Peoria termed Mitchell's departure a "retirement." The release did not address the reports of an investigation into Mitchell.
Mitchell's departure is effective Friday. Assistant Police Chief Loren Marion was named Acting Police Chief.
The full statement:
Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell announced his retirement from the Peoria Police Department, effective today. Assistant Chief Loren Marion will be named Acting Police Chief.
City Manager Patrick Urich stated, “I would like to thank Chief Mitchell for his more than 27 years of service to the Peoria Police Department. I wish him well in the future as he pursues other options.”
Police Chief Mitchell began his career with the Peoria Police Department following his graduation from Bradley University. He was promoted to Chief in September 2014. Chief Mitchell stated, “It’s been an honor to serve the citizens of our community, but it is time to move on to new opportunities. The department will continue their legacy of outstanding service.”
Acting Chief Loren Marion stated, “The Peoria Police Department will continue to move forward and provide the highest quality of service to the residents and visitors of Peoria.”
This story will be updated.