City council meets for the first time since former police chief' - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

City council meets for the first time since former police chief's investigation began

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Peoria resident calls out City Council during meeting. Peoria resident calls out City Council during meeting.
PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

Upset council members in Peoria said they were some of the last to know about an investigation of the former Peoria Police Chief.

Chief Jerry Mitchell abruptly retired Friday and now, top city leaders face some tough questions.

During a Peoria City Council meeting Tuesday, a range of emotions filled council chambers, the majority of them, unpleasant.

"We are mad. We are so very angry." said one woman as she took to the podium during the public comment portion of the evening to criticize the city for how it handled the foreclosure of the Pere Marquette and recent police activity.

Another man, Chris Williams, unleashed his anger and called Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis out directly, before chastising the police department too.

"You guys are hard headed. The mayor don't wanna act right. You guys don't wanna act right. As far as I'm concerned the active police chief says they got 216 people down there... If I had my way, 216 people at the police department would be fired; everyone out of there." shouted Williams.

But the public weren't the only ones upset about how the city has been conducting Mitchell's investigation. Councilwoman Beth Jensen said she was frustrated and angry about being left in the dark.

Jensen also said the investigation was going on for some time before the council was made aware. She still doesn't know whether tax payer dollars are being used to pay for the investigation, but regardless, her opinion remained, that the city manager's decision not to notify them, was bad for the council.

"As the city council we need to know things that he's working on...things besides just policy...Personnel issues and other things affecting the city so that we can do our jobs and represent the citizens for whom  we were elected to represent." Jensen explained.

During the meeting, citizens turned to city manager Patrick Urich for answers. 

"It all seems to revolve around how the city manager conducts and leads the city. The communication between the city and the citizens is deplorable." said another woman.

She also brought up Urich's annual assessment, which the council planned to discuss during their closed session portion of the night, calling for both Urich and council to hold themselves accountable for the recent and past shortfalls.

The council also made a motion to address the Mitchell investigation during that closed session. It would be the first time the entire council met and discussed the matter as a unified body.  

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