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Rock Island police chief to retire after almost 30 years with department

After nearly 9 years as head of the department, Rock Island Chief of Police Jeff VenHuizen will retire Oct. 31.
Credit: Rock Island Police Department
Rock Island Police Chief Jeff VanHuizen announces retirement on Oct. 31.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — After a nearly three-decade career at the Rock Island Police Department and nine years overseeing a department with over 100 employees, Chief of Police Jeff VenHuizen announced he will retire at the end of October.

Throughout his time at the department, according to a retirement post on the department's Facebook, VenHuizen served many roles. Among them: patrol officer, field training officer, Emergency Response Team member, patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant, deputy chief of police and - finally - chief of police.

VenHuizen was named police chief back in 2012 after former Police Chief Scott Harris accepted the director of public safety position at Western Illinois University in Macomb.

“I want to thank the City of Rock Island and its citizens for their trust and support in allowing me to serve as a Rock Island police officer, with the last 8.5 years as its chief of police," VenHuizen said in his retirement announcement. "I pray that I have served you well."

As chief, VenHuizen saw the relocation of the department, implementation of body cameras, reorganization of the department, creation of a Tactical Operations Division that focuses on violence gun crimes and department accreditation through the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.

His decision to retire was not an easy one, according to the announcement, and the chief said he planned to explore future opportunities beyond the Rock Island Police Department.

"I am proud to have served as a Rock Island police officer and prouder still to have led this department as its chief of police,” VenHuizen said.

A retirement reception will be held from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29 in the Rock Island Police Department's Community Room, located at 1212 5th Avenue.