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Geneseo external review reveals negative workplace under former police chief leadership

Local 4 News has exclusive new information on the Geneseo Police Chief who resigned three weeks ago.

Back on January 30th, Geneseo Police Sgt. Steve Whittington was named acting chief and Thomas Piotrowksi was placed on paid administrative leave.

We requested a Freedom of Information Act for the letter that notified the chief he was placed on leave.

The action was taken pending an external review of practices and procedures within the department. Since then, the former chief submitted a letter stating he was retiring and resigning from his role effective March 1st.

The independent external review has been completed since the change was made in January. We submitted another request for those documents. 

A consultant from the Chicago area drafted the report. He's a formerly appointed Police Chief and Deputy Inspector General of the Illinois Secretary of State which made him qualified to do the external review.

City officials say it was recommended to bring someone in from outside the community to conduct it and have an unbiased opinion.

In the report, it revealed three officers came forward with their concerns several times about the department's morale and operation. He interviewed all members of the police department, city officials, retired officers and Piotrowksi himself.

During his review, the consultant says he gathered enough information on the former chief to say he created a negative and defensive climate in the workplace and with city staff. 

Some employees described conversations with him as getting "ripped on" and getting bullied. There were some city officials who said they had a good working relationship with him, but could feel some tension.

We talked to several community members about it who said they knew about that tension, but felt things should've been handled differently.

"He did a tremendous job I've never run into anybody who had anything bad to say about it," said community member Steve Welch."You've probably haven't heard a dozen times at least and that is he is a great guy. I think they could've handled it differently and kept him in office and not done any harm to the city at all."

The consultant also found there was tension between the former chief and the city administrator.

He says there were feelings of the administrator wanting to control the department and the former chief not liking that. Local 4 News reached out to Piotrowksi multiple times and and have yet to hear back. 

We also reached out to the the city administrator who said she didn't want to comment on what was revealed in the documents. But she did comment on how the city plans to move forward with hiring a new police chief.


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