Chief of Police Jeffrey R. VenHuizen has announced his retirement from the Rock Island Police Department effective October 31st, 2021. This announcement marks the culmination of the Chief’s 28 ½ year career with the City of Rock Island.
Chief VenHuizen has served as the Chief of Police since December 10th, 2012, overseeing the department of 110 employees. Chief VenHuizen began his career with the Rock Island Police Department on February 1st, 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.
Chief VenHuizen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois and is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff & Command in Evanston, Illinois 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, Chief VenHuizen has implemented or overseen several major projects during his tenure to include the construction of a new police facility, 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, as well as achieving department accreditation through the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. Chief VenHuizen also oversaw the re-organization of the department, which included the creation of a new division within the Rock Island Police Department, the Tactical Operations Division whose focus is the investigation of violent / gun crimes.
Chief VenHuizen stated “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 & violent crime, never having risen above crime statistics from 2011. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
“His advice and support were invaluable to me during my tenure as City Manager,” said City Manager Randy Tweet. “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.”
There will be a reception on Friday, October 29, 2021 from 1:00 -3:00 p.m. in the Rock Island Police Department Community Room, 1212 5th Avenue, Rock Island, IL. 61201.