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Jones bids farewell to Macomb; city to begin search for new police chief

Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones is headed to Flossmoor to lead that community's police department.
Rich Egger
Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones is headed to Flossmoor to lead that community's police department.

Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones is leaving to become police chief in the Chicago suburb of Flossmoor, which is near where he grew up.

“Everyone that I grew up around – all of my loved ones – will be within a 20-mile radius of where I will be working. This is very important to me and my family,” he said.

A farewell reception for Jones will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, March 24, at Macomb City Hall.

During nearly two decades in Macomb, Jones was a student at Western Illinois University, worked for the university’s Office of Public Safety, and served as a lieutenant in the McDonough County Sheriff’s Department.

Jones then became the first Black police chief in a largely white community. Jones said he always felt welcomed, though he added there are always challenges.

“There are going to be challenges no matter where we work because we live in a society that is ever-changing, and a society that is growing, but a society where there is still a lot of work left to do. I don’t blame that on Macomb or any isolated or one or two locations or organizations,” Jones said.

“We’re going to continue to see things come to fruition in our society. There’s a lot of work left to be done, and I will constantly keep my hand to the plow.”

Jones said it was an honor to be appointed the first Black police chief in Macomb’s long history. He said the city was a phenomenal place to work.

What’s next for Macomb

Mayor Mike Inman said the city will conduct a national search for its next police chief. The search could take nine to twelve months, and internal candidates will be considered.

One internal candidate is Jeff Hamer. He’s the department’s operations commander, will serve as interim chief during the search, and said he will apply to be the next chief.

“I’ve not been one to shy away from challenges. I’ve taken every promotional exam that’s come my way and accepted every promotion that’s come my way,” he said.

Hamer said he would bring stability to the department. He’s worked there for 22 years. He spent three years before that as a corrections officer at the McDonough County jail.

Hamer double majored in Sociology and Law Enforcement and Justice Administration at WIU, and he has a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University.

While Hamer serves as Interim Police Chief, Officer Thomas Duvall will serve as Interim Operations Commander.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.