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Longtime officer named chief

Mayor: People will see improvement

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Prophetstown Mayor Steve Swanson

PROPHETSTOWN – The city has a new police chief – longtime Sgt. Bruce Franks.

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Steve Swanson recommended that Franks replace Police Chief Mike Fisk, who served in that post from 1991 until Swanson fired him last week. The council then appointed Franks, whom the mayor had already made acting chief.

“I know some people are upset” about Fisk’s dismissal, Swanson said Thursday. “But we’re also getting a lot of positive feedback. It certainly wasn’t an easy decision. It was made after lots and lots of reflection.”

As he has before, Swanson declined on Thursday to give a reason for the firing, other than to say he thought it was time for a change at the police department. He repeated that Fisk was not the subject of any investigation or disciplinary action.

“It was best for Prophetstown to change direction,” the mayor said. “If people give this a chance, they’ll see an improvement.”

Asked what needed to be improved, Swanson would not say.

“People need to stop the rumor mill,” he said. “The first rumor was that [Fisk] didn’t get his pension. He gets his pension.”

Swanson noted that mayors have the power to dismiss police chiefs. 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, he said.

In last weekend’s interview, Swanson said he and the former chief had had differences, but he separated his personal feelings from the business of Prophetstown.

He said he discussed his decision with, and had the backing of, all six council members. Council member Warren Long confirmed last weekend that he agreed with Swanson’s decision.

Sauk Valley Media could not reach the five other council members Thursday.

Fisk also couldn’t be reached for comment.

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