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Prophetstown mayor fires longtime police chief

No wrongdoing involved; no litigation or investigation on way

Published: Sunday, May 11, 2014 4:14 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, May 11, 2014 8:12 p.m. CDT
Prophetstown Mayor Steve Swanson

PROPHETSTOWN – Mike Fisk, Prophetstown chief of police for more than 2 decades, has been fired, Mayor Steve Swanson confirmed Sunday.

The dismissal is not the result of any criminal behavior or professional malfeasance, and will not affect Fisk’s pension, the mayor said.

“There are no pending matters, and nothing is being investigated,” Swanson said.

“He served the citizens of Prophetstown for a long time, and I appreciate his devotion and the work he’s done for the people of Prophetstown. I’m simply exercising my right to go in a different direction.”

Fisk did not return a message left around 3 p.m. seeking comment.

Nothing specific precipitated his decision, which Swanson said he conveyed to Fisk on Friday. It also had “nothing at all” to do with the aftermath of the July 15 fire that destroyed a major portion of the downtown, he said.

“We’ve had some differences, sure, but this has weighed on me for a long time,” the mayor said. “I’m positive I separated my personal feelings from the business of Prophetstown.

“Prophetstown just needs to go in a different direction,” he said again. “I felt it was the best thing for the city.”

He discussed his decision with, and had the backing of, all six council members, he added.

Council member Warren Long confirmed that the council is in agreement with Swanson’s decision, and he, too, said the dismissal was not based on any wrongdoing on Fisk’s part.

According to Illinois Municipal Code, the mayor may choose to appoint or dismiss the chief of police, or any other at-will employee, for any reason at the beginning of the fiscal year, which was May 1, Swanson said.

For now, Sgt. Bruce Franks, one of the department’s two other officers, will serve as acting chief of the town of about 2,000.

Although the mayor may dismiss the chief, the city council must appoint a new one, Swanson said, adding that he will make a recommendation to the council.

The town will advertise to fill the third spot, Swanson said.

Fisk has been P’town’s chief of police since 1991, Swanson said. Before that, he was Lyndon’s chief. Swanson has been mayor 5 years.

When asked how Fisk reacted, Swanson said, “He was disappointed, I think. I know I would be.”

He emphasized that the city plans no investigation into the matter, and that there is no pending litigation.

“I do appreciate his service, and there are no hard feelings on my part,” Swanson said.

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