WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Update on Police Chief Searches in Ft Madison & Galesburg

Aug 1, 2019

Two communities in the tri states are on the verge of hiring new police chiefs.  Announcements are expected soon.


Manager David Varley said he hopes to name the new police chief by the end of the week.

Varley said 41 people, including two internal candidates, applied to replace former Chief Tim Sittig, who retired a couple months ago after leading the department for a few years.

Varley said a recruiter he worked with narrowed the field of candidates from 41 to 6 through background checks, resume reviews, and responses to essay questions.

“I reviewed all that information they provided to me,” said Varley in how he further narrowed the field to the three finalists. “Based on that, I chose who I thought were the top three candidates to interview.”

Varley did not provide the names of the finalists, citing their desire for confidentiality during the hiring process. He said they went through a series of interviews on Monday with members of the public, city staff, and law enforcement officers.

Varley said the city council will need to approve the person he chooses to hire. The new person will be the seventh full-time or interim police chief Fort Madison has employed in the past four years.

Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber is serving as interim police chief. He has suggested the city add a 20th sworn officer to the force, upgrade equipment, and restructure the department to create the rank of major (2nd in command) to work directly with the new chief of police.


The city said it received 516 responses to a community survey that asked residents about the qualities they desire in the next police chief.  Among the top findings:

  Leadership Qualities

  • 73.79%  Hold employees accountable
  • 71.84%  Trustworthy and transparent
  • 67.96%  Integrity


  • 71.23%%  Experience in engaging with diverse communities
  • 57.53%  Record of community involvement
  • 52.45%  Experience in impacting the level of crime

Highest Priorities

  • 70.23%  Crime prevention and reduction
  • 69.26%  Police accountability
  • 64.40%  Strengthening police-community partnerships and collaboration
  • 64.40%  Building positive relationships with diverse communities

The city said it has been reviewing applications from internal and external candidates, and expects to name the new police chief in August.

Galesburg is seeking a successor to Chief David Christensen. He announced in May that he is retiring. He led the department for the last 13 years.