Former longtime Chillicothe police Chief Steve Maurer is the new chief in Henry.
Maurer, who had been out of police work since resigning under a cloud in Chillicothe more than two years ago, was appointed by Mayor Randy Constantine and confirmed by a 5-0 City Council vote at a special meeting Saturday morning. Alderman Bob Hankins was absent.
“Thank you for your support and confidence,” Maurer told the officials after being sworn in. “I’ve heard nothing but good about you and the town. I look forward to being part of Henry.”
The selection of Maurer, 56, capped an approximately three-month search that began when former chief Bill Calbow resigned after a simmering dispute with Constantine. It was a sometimes acrimonious process, with differences between the mayor and council.
“We finally got a really good guy who’s going to fit well in our city,” said police committee Chairman Shawn Carr. “I’m glad this is over. Let’s move forward.”
Maurer will begin work Monday at a starting salary of $47,500. He met the interim chief, Sgt. John Williamson, on Saturday and said he looks forward to meeting other officers soon.
“I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve got to get to know the town,” Maurer said after the meeting.
Maurer had been Chillicothe chief for 28 years and with the department for about 32 when he resigned in August 2011 after being arrested twice within a year. One arrest involved an alleged domestic battery incident in which no charges were filed; he also was arrested for driving under the influence shortly before his resignation.
“It’s been a long, hard road,” Maurer told the council.
Carr said after the meeting that those incidents were not factors in the committee’s consideration and recommendation, which came after an interview. He noted that he had known Maurer for many years and had played softball against him.
“Do we all have a perfect past? No,” Carr said, adding that the arrests “were something we really didn’t consider. We met the guy; he’s a good man, and I think he’ll be a good fit for the city.”
Constantine’s first choice for the job had been rejected by the council, and a candidate later recommended by Carr’s committee turned the job down. No disagreements were aired on Saturday.
“Steve’s very well qualified,” Constantine said after the meeting. “He’s been in law enforcement for something like 30 years.”
Even after leaving police work, Maurer became involved recently in the discovery of the body of a missing woman in Chillicothe.
Page 2 of 2 - Julie Peters, 23, of Edwards attended a wedding reception at the American Legion in Chillicothe on Sept. 28. She drove away and disappeared.
Her body was found Oct. 7 in her car, which had overturned and submerged in the Illinois River near a boat ramp a few blocks from where she was last seen.
Maurer is the father-in-law of Abby Maurer, a friend of Peters who helped organize a widespread search effort. She said the car was found when her father-in-law met two researchers from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in their boat near the discovery site.
The researchers were doing hydroacoustic surveys of Asian carp in the river using sidescan sonar equipment. After Steve Maurer asked if they could use the equipment to locate a vehicle, the researchers searched the water and found the car. After Steve Maurer boarded the boat and saw the car, they called authorities.
On Saturday before the council meeting, Maurer said he had spent the past two years mostly working in construction, while also running a mowing business and helping to coach high school wrestling. He said he was glad to be returning to police work.
“It’s a good opportunity for me. It’s like a breath of fresh air, really,” he said, adding that he might consider moving to Henry. “We’ll have to see whether it’s a good fit.”