Town of Geneva names next police chief

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Kevin Hoffman
Friday, January 28, 2011
— The Town of Geneva Police Commission has found a replacement for former Police Chief Ed Gritzner, choosing Racine Assistant Chief Steven Hurley to lead its department.

The town made the announcement Thursday following a four-month search that drew more than 40 applicants from around the nation. Commission Chairman Jay Hencken said Hurley of Bristol completed the interview process with the highest test and interview scores before commission members unanimously voted to offer him the job.

Hurley will officially assume the role in early March. His conditional employment is pending background, medical and psychological tests.

"I'm very excited to start working out in the town and getting to know the officers and everyone in the community," Hurley said. "When the job opening was announced, I was specifically attracted to it because my family and I spend a lot of time in the Walworth area. I just knew the town of Geneva reputation, and I felt like it would be an excellent area to lead a department."

Long-time Chief Gritzner announced his retirement in late September amidst controversy related to his conduct both on and off duty.

He was suspended for one day in March following a misconduct complaint, and during the fall he was accused of being involved in an altercation at the town festival.

Gritzner's last day was Dec. 31. In his absence, four senior officers have shared his duties.

Hurley said he was looking forward to a fresh start with the Geneva Police Department. He has spent 32 years on Racine's police force, also serving as an adjunct instructor at the College of Lake County, Ill., and an adjunct professor at Concordia University, teaching finance and budgeting, criminal justice and management, business ethics, and business law, according to a news release.

Hurley has not yet decided whether to continue teaching.

He said his first priority is getting familiar with the department and the community. He then plans to solicit suggestions for ways to improve the department's operations and address issues within Geneva Township.

"He's just very polished, he thinks before he answers and he came across as very professional," Hencken said.

"I believe that Steve is going to take the department in a very positive direction, restoring our credibility and reputation," Hencken said.

Hurley is a Racine native and married with six children. His duties at the department will include patrol and administrative operations.

The terms of his salary have not yet been negotiated with the town board.

Hencken said 40 to 50 people applied for the chief's job. They first interviewed about 18 of them before narrowing it this week to just a few.

About six of the applicants were within Walworth County, he said.

Last updated: 3:58 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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