BLOOMINGTON — An interim police chief likely will be appointed to allow City Manager Tim Gleason more time to find a replacement for Clay Wheeler, who is retiring June 21.
"Hiring the city's next police chief is a very important decision, and I see it as imperative as I approach this process to hear from the whole community about what is important to them, what they would like to see," Gleason said in a city -statement.
He did not say who the interim chief might be.
Gleason has asked the city's Public Safety & Community Relations Board (PSCRB) to help gather community-wide feedback about Wheeler's replacement.
Residents can provide feedback at the board's quarterly meeting at 6 p.m. June 12 at City of Refuge Ministries, 407 E. Jefferson St., near downtown Bloomington.
"It is a great opportunity for members of the community to express what their expectations are and the qualities they desire in a new police chief," said board Chairman Art Taylor. "That feedback will be delivered back to the city manager and his selection committee for interviews of any candidates who may come forward."
Because a large crowd is anticipated, comments will be limited to two minutes per speaker.
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Wheeler, 52, said his retirement was prompted by his wife's cancer diagnosis about a month after he was appointed police chief in May 2018. He succeeded Brendan Heffner, who retired to become U.S. marshal for the central district of Illinois.
While his wife, Justine, is well on her way to recovery, Wheeler said her struggle led him to the decision "to put family first and go enjoy life."
The community feedback is part of a multi-step process, which will also include a nationwide search conducted by the city, an internal panel, and a community meet-and-greet with finalists, said Gleason, who will make the final decision.
"I cannot overstate how important this process and this hire are to me as city manager, because I know just how important they are to our community," said Gleason, a former police officer.
While some internal candidates expressed interest in the chief position, Gleason told the council in April that he decided on a nationwide search
"I see no need in using a consultant. This is something that can be conducted internally," said Gleason.