Letter To The Editor: Wood River Police Chief Directs Letter To Mayor After Watching Body Camera Video
Note: Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells directed the following letter to incumbent Mayor Cheryl Maguire on Monday. Mayor Maguire said today she could not yet comment on the letter.
I just watched a body camera video in reference to a report you made with the Wood River Police Department over the weekend. Unrelated to the report, and at the end of your conversation with Sgt. T. Gegen, you made the following comment, “After the first meeting in May I’m gonna call some people about a conversation I had with their boss and what their boss had to say about them…..Yeah…..It will be nice to know what your boss says about you.” After the first meeting in May you no longer will be the Mayor.
It was very clear to me when you said “It will be nice to know what your boss says about you” you were speaking to Sgt. Gegen and the members of the Wood River Police Department. You have approximately two weeks left in your administration. You, as the Mayor, are privileged to conversations to address issues any department may encounter while running a city.
Conversations take place to address problems in confidence with you as the Mayor. I find it very concerning you are willing to stoop the level of disclosing confidential conversations you have had with me or any other department head after you are no longer the Mayor. The comment you made to Sgt. Gegen is taken as a threat on my position as Chief of Police. It is also taken as a further disruption by you to the police department. I have spent the last several months under your administration trying to defend my job, instead of doing my job. I even had a conversation with you and the City Manager asking you to stop being disruptive to this police department. I noticed the disruption coming from you right around the time you were running to be reelected as Mayor. It was commonly known support for you had eroded amongst First Responders. It appeared to me you were trying to gain the favor of employees within the police department to be reelected. As with any employer there will be people who are not happy with certain rules or expectations. As I told you in my private meeting with you, I have expectations within the police department to better this city. I will not ever do anything to personally benefit me in this position. Everything I do as Chief of Police is for the good of the order for this city.
Your comments are disruptive and fortunately, are on video. Police employees have a very dangerous and stressful position. Running a police department is not a small task. Especially with the new reforms on the horizon it is difficult to keep anyone interested in the occupation. Your actions of trying to stick a needle in the eye of proper police administration is disappointing and disgraceful at best.
If you feel the need to have a conversation with any member of the Wood River Police Department I will offer you this…..I will call a departmental meeting with every member of the police department so you can share with the employees of this city what you want to disclose. I will also be present in this meeting to determine what you are telling them is accurate information. I think it only fair. You will have the opportunity to tell your version of the conversation and I will then have to explain to the members of this very great police department what was actually said. The people of this police department are dedicated to doing the right thing for this city. Comments coming from you are nothing more than a continuation of chipping away at a police employees desire to do this occupation.
Please let me know when you want this meeting and let me know if you would like a copy of this video.
Chief of Police
F.B.I. N.A. #233
City of Wood River
550 Madison Ave.
Wood River, Illinois 62095