Bloomington police chief finalists plan for the department’s future

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Bloomington Police Department hosted a community meet-and-greet Tuesday at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

This event gave residents the opportunity to ask questions and provide input about the two final candidates for the next police chief.

BPD Co-Interim Chief Dan Donath and Parkland College Police Chief William Colbrook are the finalist.

City Manager Tim Gleason said the police chief recruitment process began earlier this summer after former BPD Chief Clay Wheeler announced his retirement in June.

Out of all 60 candidates nationwide, Gleason said the community will be in great shape regardless of who is selected.

“They have what I need. I need somebody that can communicate and interact with sincerity, with empathy to the community,” Gleason said. “Look at what law enforcement does. I mean the majority of what they do are calls of service and calls of service are typically negative.

So I need somebody that can talk to the community. So they believe what is coming from that person’s mouth is a level of integrity and honesty. That is very important to the community.”

Cristo Ortiz-Palafox, a Bloomington resident, said he attended the event because he wanted to be more involved. He said it is important to know where community leaders stand in decision making.

Donath said his biggest skill set is knowing how to work with people.

“I have a whole list of expectations. The list includes all kinds of things from treating every call as if you or your family is the person that is calling. If you go to that level for every call that you take, you can’t fell.”

Donath said the projects he is implementing, regardless if selected, are officer wellness programs, increasing community policing and technology improvement.

Colbrook said he has 33 years of law enforcement experience and plans to utilize his skills by “moving the department into the 21st century.”

“It will be my mission and my job to get to know the women and men of the department,” Colbrook said. “I will need to take an assessment to see what are the issues I need to work on right then. I got a passion for law enforcement. I got into this department for one reason and one reason only. That is to make a difference and give back to society.”

Colbrook said the community coalition is his priority if selected. He said his project will allow a collaboration between law enforcement, medical, academic and other agencies to work together to make a difference.

Gleason said he is going to use the community’s feedback from Tuesday’s event to help make his selection. He said he expects to have a decision early next week.

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