Normal police chief to retire next month | Politics | pantagraph.com – The Pantagraph
This is a developing story that will be updated.
NORMAL — Normal police Chief Rick Bleichner announced Monday he will retire at the end of April after about 11 years in the position.
He joined the Normal Police Department in 1991.
“I cannot adequately express my gratitude for all the opportunities I have been afforded during my career,” Bleichner said in a statement. “It has been my greatest professional honor to lead the Normal Police Department.”
Bleichner said that after extensive thought, he realized “the time is right” and suggested the department is in good hands.
“The organization has six new recruits preparing to report to the academy at the end of April and I am confident the department is headed in a positive direction,” Bleichner said.
Normal City Manager Pam Reece “will announce plans” for Bleichner’s replacement at the end of March, the town said.
Reece said Bleichner’s ability to build strong community partnerships and his “visionary leadership” will leave an enduring impact on the department and town.
Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner and officer Jasmine Johnson address about 75 police and others who joined the department’s “United Against Police Brutality” walk across Uptown Normal on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
“He has served with the highest ideals of professionalism and integrity and is a role model to many,” Reece said in a statement. “Chief Bleichner leaves a legacy of leading with humility and a dedication to the importance of mentoring others and promoting a professional culture.”
McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage, who also is retiring this year, echoed Reece’s statement, highlighting Bleichner’s “professionalism, his involvement and his dedication to the job.”
“He’s definitely going to be missed, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he has set that agency up to succeed in the future,” Sandage said.
While wishing him good luck and noting that he will “join him soon,” Sandage said he has served with Bleichner on various boards and said the local law enforcement agencies meet at least once a month to review impacts on the departments.
“Rick is always great to work with,” said Sandage, whose retirement takes effect in December. “He’s always upfront and honest, and he has really progressed the Normal Police Department. Rick realizes that amongst all local police agencies, there’s a lot of teamwork that needs to be accomplished.”
Bleichner joined the police department as a patrol officer and built his way up to serve as a field training officer, a detective and “in all phases of operation and support,” the town said.
After becoming a detective, Bleichner was promoted to sergeant in 1999 and to lieutenant to …….