Rock Island Chief of Police Jeffrey R. VenHuizen has announced his retirement from the Rock Island Police Department effective Oct. 31, 2021.
This will mark the culmination of the chief’s 28 ½-year career with the city. Chief VenHuizen has served as police chief since Dec. 10, 2012, overseeing the department of 110 employees. VenHuizen began his career with the Rock Island Police on Feb. 1, 1993.
He has served as a patrol officer, K-9 Officer, Field Training Officer, Emergency Response Team member, Patrol Sergeant, Narcotics / Vice Sergeant, Agent to the Office of Professional Standards, Patrol Lieutenant, Commander of the Administrative Technical Services Division, and Deputy Chief of Police, according to a Wednesday release.
VenHuizen holds a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University in Macomb, and is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff & Command in Evanston, and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
He serves as the president of the Quad City Councils of Chiefs of Police. As Chief of Police, VenHuizen has implemented or overseen several major projects during his tenure, including:
- Construction of a $20-million police station at 1212 5th Ave., opening in 2015;
- Upgrading the antiquated VHF / UHF radio system to an 800Mhz P-25 compliant system;
- Implementing the first body-worn camera system of a large agency in the Quad Cities;
- Achieving department accreditation through the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program
VenHuizen also oversaw the re-organization of the department, which included creation of a new division within the Rock Island Police Department — the Tactical Operations Division whose focus is the investigation of violent / gun crimes.
“I am proud to say that during my tenure as Chief of Police, through community partnerships and pro-active policing strategies, the City of Rock Island achieved unprecedented all-time lows in both overall and violent crime, never having risen above crime statistics from 2011,” he said in Wednesday’s release.
“Our incredible achievements and successes in reducing crime and making Rock Island a safer community would not have been possible if we did not work with the citizens to enforce laws, solve problems, build partnerships, and protect individual rights,” the chief said. “We hold in great regard the trust our community bestows upon us and take personal responsibility in nurturing and promoting that trust.”
“The decision to retire has not been easy or made in haste,” VenHuizen said. “I committed at the beginning of 2021 to begin exploring future opportunities beyond the Rock Island Police Department. While the Police Department is re-building and faces many manpower challenges, there has never been a more diverse, better educated, or well-trained police department whose members are prepared to lead this department into the future.”
“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 ½ years as its Chief of Police,” he said. “I pray that I have served you well. Most of all, I would like to thank all the men and women of the Rock Island Police Department for their support, professionalism, and unwavering dedication to duty.
“As Chief of Police, I set high expectations and standards for the employees serving under my tenure. Time and again, the Officers of the Rock Island Police Department rose to meet every expectation or challenge; and they have done so with courage, steadfast determination, and integrity,” he added. “They are quite simply, some of the finest men and women serving in law enforcement today and each of them is owed a debt of gratitude for their service. 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.”
Rock Island city manager Randy Tweet said: “His advice and support were invaluable to me during my tenure as City Manager. I’d like to thank the Chief for his nearly three-decade commitment to the City and the citizens of Rock Island. He will be missed.”
Mayor Mike Thoms stated: “Chief VenHuizen has been an outstanding Police Officer and Police Chief for almost 29 years. He is well respected throughout the law enforcement community and throughout the City of Rock Island. We could not have asked for anyone better to represent the City.
“His guidance and open-mindedness in working with City staff has been invaluable. Thank you, my friend, you will be missed,” the mayor said.
There will be a reception on Friday, Oct. 29 , from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Rock Island Police Department Community Room, 1212 5th Ave.