BPD Interim Chief Scott To Retire Amid Chief Search
Bloomington interim Police Chief Greg Scott has announced he will retire in September as the city is in the midst of a search for a full-time police chief.
Scott has worked for BPD for 25 years, starting as a patrol officer in 1996. He became assistant police chief in 2016. Scott was named co-interim chief prior to Don Donath’s hiring as police chief in August 2019.
City Manager Tim Gleason named Scott interim chief after Donath announced his retirement last August.
Scott said he first considered retirement last summer, but delayed those plans to fill the interim chief role when Donath retired.
"I had thoughts as I went along thinking it would put in for chief, but the closer I got, the more I liked the idea of the June retirement and just help us to get us where we are." Scott said.
Scott, 55, said he decided he couldn't commit to three or more years in the chief's role.
"The department has gone through a number of chiefs in pretty rapid succession and I think it would be very helpful to the department if they could find the right person for three or five years or longer," Scott said.
Bloomington has had three police chiefs and an interim chief leading its police force since 2018.
Gleason delayed a search for a new police department leader after Donath's retirement, saying he wanted to wait for pandemic restrictions to ease to better enable the public to meet with the finalists.
”Going through the pandemic, I didn’t want to hold a virtual recruitment when picking a new leader for the police force and Greg was there to help," Gleason said.
Gleason added he plans to present 2-3 finalists for the public in August and select a new chief hired in September.
Gleason said he wants the new chief to give a longer-term commitment to the position.
"I need stability for this community, for the men and women at the police department," Gleason said. "I'm talking in terms of five years with these candidates and if they can't give me that kind of commitment, I'm not sure that they will be the selected candidate."
Gleason said he understands the recent high turnover in the city's top police chief may create negative perceptions, but he said each departure came under unique circumstances. Some police departments across the country have struggled to keep and hire new officers. Gleason said he believes the struggle to hire more officers has less to do with the recent criminal justice reform bill Illinois passed earlier this year and more about how officers are perceived.
"I just think it's the harsh criticism, the lack of respect that a lot of officer receive," Gleason said. "I think that's the biggest challenge."
Interim chief Scott said he will leave the department in good shape and added the department will have to prepare for changes ahead, particularly the way it handles mental health-related calls.
"I think there are some calls where an officer isn't the best person to be dispatched to," Scott said, adding the city has explored ways to involve mental health professionals on police calls. He said the city has discussed two models; having mental health experts respond to some calls with an officer or assist with calls from the city's dispatch center to ensure people who are suffering a mental health crisis are best directed to the resources they need.
Scott’s last day will be Sept. 3. He said he doesn't have immediate plans for his future, other than spend more time with family.