Pittsfield names former Illinois State Police commander as police chief

Posted: May. 7, 2014 10:41 am Updated: May. 28, 2014 4:14 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Pittsfield's new police chief is a familiar face in area law enforcement.

The Pittsfield City Council Tuesday named Kenny Yelliott, former commander of the Illinois State Police District 20 in Pittsfield, to take over for Chief Dennis Jennings.

"Kenny was more than qualified with his 30 years of experience with the Illinois State Police," Mayor John Hayden said. "He thought he had a lot he could offer to the community."

Yelliott, who retired in 2009 from ISP, was elected as Ward 1 alderman in April 2013. He will resign the seat to take on the chief's job, and Hayden expects to appoint someone at the May 20 council meeting to serve until the next municipal election.

City Clerk Cindy Prentice said Yelliott likely will start working part-time next week, then full-time around May 19.

"He wants to work with Dennis some before he leaves," Prentice said.

Jennings retires May 29. He joined the department as a patrolman in May 1979, served as assistant chief for more than 12 years and took over the top job on Aug. 1, 2007 when Mike Bradshaw resigned to teach full-time in the criminal justice department at Culver-Stockton College.

The city had six applicants for the chief's job and interviewed five. Hayden said Yelliott stood out for his past experience and his vision for the future.

"He answered all the questions in the right way," Hayden said. "We felt he was the man to lead us forward. His qualifications lead him into a lot of things ... which will be a big value to our police department."

Also Tuesday, aldermen accepted the low bid of $354,162 from Brotcke Well and Pump for a third well for the city's water system and authorized Hayden to sign all the required paperwork. The new well "will be like a backup in case one quits," Prentice said.

The city dedicated a new water system and water treatment plant in October 2011. Water for the new system comes from two wells in the same aquifer used by the Pike County Water District, an alternate supply to Lake Pittsfield which had been the city's water source for years.

In other action, the Pittsfield City Council:

Received an initial draft of a proposed beer garden ordinance, which will head to the ordinance committee for review. Wally Lindsay hopes to open a beer garden behind his businesses on the square, but beer gardens are not allowed under current city ordinance. "We think we've got one drawn up that will work and cover any future beer gardens," Hayden said. "We want to get in on the books, make it legal."

Extended Josh McDonald's special use permit for two years for a taxidermy business, limited to waterfowl only, in a residence at 219 S. Clarksville Road.

Learned an overcharge on the February gas bill will be credited on this month's bill. The gas billing, done through the Illinois Municipal Gas Association, had a $29,000 error.