Posted Online: Oct. 09, 2012, 7:25 pm

RI police chief leaving post for job at WIU

Comment on this story

By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

Photo:
Rock Island POlice Department Chief Scott Harris
Rock Island Police Department Chief Scott Harris will be leaving the position Nov. 2 to head Western Illinois University's police force in Macomb.

"I'm leaving one good organization for another one," said Chief Harris, who is scheduled to start Nov. 5 as director of the Office of Public Safety at WIU's Macomb campus and will lead 24 officers.

Chief Harris said he hopes to use Rock Island's community policing approach. He noted city officers have become involved in Rock Island beyond the basic expectations, serving as youth mentors for at-risk young people.

Rock Island has seen significant reductions in crime during recent years, Chief Harris said. He said he never would have considered leaving if he thought the city and its officers still needed his help.

"These guys know what they are doing," he said.

He said he will miss the job and would have liked to seen the completion of the department's accreditation through the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley on Tuesday said Chief Harris notified the city a few days ago about his decision. "He's been a great chief," the mayor said. "He's done an excellent job."

Chief Harris joined the Rock Island Police Department in 1982 at age 23. The Quad-Cities native was a corrections officer with the East Moline Correctional Center and served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps before becoming a police officer.

An interim replacement will be named for Chief Harris as Rock Island conducts a national search for a permanent replacement, Mayor Pauley said. Details still were being ironed out Tuesday, he said.