Four finalists — wait a second, three — selected for position as Quincy’s police chief

Pilkington - Yates - Lewin

From left, Shannon Pilkington, deputy chief of operations with the Quincy Police Department; Adam Yates, deputy chief of administrative services with the Quincy Police Department; and Jonathan Lewin, a 28-year-veteran of the Chicago Police Department. | Photos of Pilkington and Yates courtesy of Quincy Police Department; photo of Lewin courtesy of Jonathan Lewin

QUINCY — Two of the three finalists for the position of Quincy’s chief of police already are employed by the Quincy Police Department.

An email sent Saturday night to local media by Barry Cheyne, one of three members of the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, revealed the finalists selected after a two-month search. They are:

  • Shannon Pilkington, deputy chief of operations with the Quincy Police Department. He has been a member of the department since October 1999;
  • Adam Yates, deputy chief of administrative services with the Quincy Police Department. He has been a member of the department since September 1999;
  • Jonathan Lewin, a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. He retired in January 2020. He has worked since May 2020 as the public safety advisor for the First Responder Network, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce in Reston, Va.

QPD Chief Rob Copley is retiring on May 6. Cheyne believes the hiring process will allow for the selection of a new chief by May 2.

Schisler removes herself from consideration

Cheyne sent an email at 7:15 p.m. Saturday listing four finalists for the position. Two hours later, Cheyne sent an amended press release stating Kathy Schisler, a lieutenant with the Quincy Police Department and commander of the detective division, removed herself from consideration. Schisler has been a member of the department since March 1997.

“I did some soul searching. I decided I am more of a private person than the chief of police needs to be,” Schisler said Saturday night.

She said her husband, Jeff, plans to retire this summer, and she planned to retire from the police before next summer.

“I kind of got into the process thinking maybe this is something I would be interested in,” Schisler said. “After getting into the process and making it to the finals, I was a little surprised at myself to get this far. But the more I thought about it, I thought, ‘Do I really want to put myself out there? Do I want to have people in public always looking at you? Do I want my family be under a microscope?’

“I probably should have thought about that before starting the process. My first thought was, ‘Let’s just see how far this goes.’ Now it’s like, holy crap. I’d hate to take it and then plan on retiring next year. There’s no one coming at me about this. There are no internal issues at all. It’s just personal.”

“I did some soul searching. I decided I am more of a private person than the chief of police needs to be.”

— Kathy Schisler, a lieutenant with the Quincy Police Department and commander of the detective division, who took herself out of consideration for the police chief job on Saturday night

Day-long assessment conducted by IACP

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police conducted a day-long assessment Saturday in Quincy with the finalists. Assessors from the IACP were:

  • Ed Wojcicki, executive director of the IACP;
  • Kenny Winslow, deputy executive director of the IACP and recently retired chief of police in Springfield; 
  • Jerel Jones, chief of police in Macomb;
  • Darren Gault, chief of police in Moline.

The Board of Fire and Police Commission — Cheyne, Steve Meckes and Mike McLaughlin — announced March 30  it had narrowed the field of 15 initial candidates to five. However, Cheyne said Saturday that one the finalists — a candidate outside of Quincy — withdrew “a couple of days ago.”

The commissioners met on Saturday afternoon to review the results of the assessment, review a draft of interview questions for the commission and determined a schedule for April 29 interviews by a group of local stakeholders in the morning and the commissioners in the afternoon.

The finalists will take part in a city orientation, a working luncheon and a community forum on April 28. The forum is set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall. Carlos Fernandez, former vice president and general manager at WGEM, will moderate the forum.

Citizens can address questions, concerns, or comments with the candidates. Citizens also can send questions, concerns or comments using a survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8HC3T5J.The survey will be active for submissions from April 11-20.

“(The forum will) be a very positive thing.” Cheyne said. “Obviously, people have a lot of opinions about policing and what’s going on today and what our policing priorities are in the city. We should involve those people. They should have a voice, and it’s good for the candidates to hear what’s on people’s minds.”

Cheyne: Assessment was ‘very thorough’

Cheyne thought Saturday’s assessment was “very thorough” for each of the candidates.”

“I think if you asked them, they could probably shed a better light on it than me,” he said. “I believe we had a lot of credibility here and in running the potential candidates for Quincy police chief through the exercises today.”

Cheyne said he “didn’t have a feel” for the number of people expected to apply for the position.

“The chiefs (who conducted the assessment) thought it was about a reasonable number for a city the size of Quincy and what we’re offering for pay and those sorts of things,” he said.

Cheyne said six of the original 15 candidates were internal candidates. Four candidates were deemed not to have met the qualifications for the position. Two other candidates withdrew before filling out a final questionnaire.

Both Yates, Pilkington make more than top range of advertised pay scale

The advertised position lists the pay scale between $95,000 and $105,000. Figures from the comptroller’s office in City Hall show Copley earned $113,982 for the 2021 fiscal year. 

Pilkington earned $109,778. Yates earned $106,972.

As chief of technical services with the Chicago Police Department from 2017-20, Lewin was in charge of virtually all of the department’s law enforcement technology. That included everything from body-worn cameras and surveillance equipment to gunfire-detection systems and crime-predictive technology.

Lewin was one of five finalists for the position as chief with the Rockford Police Department last summer. Carla Redd, a Rockford native, eventually was selected as the city’s first black female police chief. She started her job Sept. 1.

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