Carbondale names Grubbs as new police chief

Carbondale names Grubbs as new police chief
Published: Sep. 14, 2015 at 2:56 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2015 at 10:39 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Jeff Grubbs has been selected as the new police chief for the City of Carbondale.

Grubbs has more than 25 years of experience including 11 years at the executive command level.

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from Southern Illinois University, has served as a deputy chief for more than eight years, has served as a canine handler, a special response team leader, has worked for four other southern Illinois police units and has received numerous awards from his peers and other law enforcement agencies.

Police Chief Jeff Grubbs was selected after the city conducted a national search this summer for the position of police chief.

According to city leaders, they received applications from candidates from within the United States, as well as from two foreign countries. Four candidates were selected from the applicant pool and offered interviews.

A panel was selected consisting of Dr. Deborah McCoy from the City of Carbondale, Harvey Welch representing the Carbondale Board of Police and Fire Commissioners and Ben Newman, public safety director for Southern Illinois University.

At the end of the interview session, the panel made a recommendation based on their individual assessment and judgment.

"Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for the City of Carbondale and more particularly for the Carbondale Police Department," said Kevin Baity, city manager. "Thirteen months ago I announced Jeff Grubbs as the interim police chief. This was not the first time that Jeff was called upon to serve in this capacity. In 2008 following the retirement of Chief Robert Ledbetter, Jeff served for six months in the same capacity. One might say Jeff has earned his experience as chief during times of turmoil and uncertainty."

With more than 20 years of experience in the police field, Grubbs says he's ready to get the community and the police department on the same page.

"I've been here a long time, and I'm committed to the community and we're here to build those bridges back to community relations," Grubbs said.

Some people in the Carbondale community mentioned they hope to see more transparency with the new police chief.

Grubbs says he will do what he can to the extent that his department able to.

""It's very easy to say release it release it release it but when we look at what that could do with what that could do to the justice of the families and not wanting to victimize those crime victims all over again," he said.

Grubbs says that's where the department has to be considerate.

"But to the extent that we are able to release that information," Grubbs said. "We always have, we always will, but we are make sure we are following the legal processes in doing so."

For Carbondale resident, Harvey Welch, he says this is a position that will require a team effort from the entire Carbondale community.

"We got to recognize that we are all in this together."

Police Chief Grubbs will begin his appointment immediately.

Former Carbondale police chief Jody O'Guinn served for roughly five years, and was fired by the city manager on August 18, 2014.

Following O'Guinn's dismissal, Deputy Chief Jeff Grubbs was appointed as the interim police chief.

Grubbs announced plans to apply for the position when the search for a permanent chief began, and Baity confirmed on Monday Grubbs was one of the final two candidates for the position.

The announcement was made at a press conference at Carbondale City Hall Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Former Chief O'Guinn was involved in several high profile cases prior to his dismissal.

O'Guinn announced in 2011 that his personal handgun may have been used in a deadly shooting.

Police reports show O'Guinn reported his personal handgun stolen June 20, 2011. O'Guinn said someone took the firearm from his locked vehicle outside his home.

Other notable cases in Carbondale involve the Molly Young case and Pravin Varughese case.

Young was found dead at her ex-boyfriend Richie Minton's apartment in Carbondale in March of 2012. Larry Young, Molly's father, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Minton, who was a Carbondale police dispatcher at the time of her death.

Nineteen-year-old Southern Illinois University student Pravin Varughese was found dead on Carbondale's east side in February 2014. His family filed a lawsuit against Carbondale, its police chief and the person who last saw Varughese alive.

City leaders maintain O'Guinn's dismissal had no connection with the unsolved cases, or litigation.A name of the opposing candidate has not been released.

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