Retired Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski: Department, City and Community Are Exactly Where They Should Be | Local crime and courts

It’s just the right time to leave.

Davenport Police Department Chief Paul Sikorski, who has held the position since 2016, announced Thursday his intention to retire on Aug. 29. He has worked for the department since 1988.

“As a leader, one of the things I wanted to do when I was made leader was to be a good, strong leader for a good portion of the time,” Sikorski said. “So I told the city administrator I’d give him a good, solid six, seven years and, you know, in August it’ll be seven years counting my acting time.”

It’s also a good time for him and his family.

“I wanted to go on my terms,” ​​he said.

Departmental, city and community leadership is exactly where it should be, Sikorski said.

“We have good, strong leadership that is getting even stronger as we speak,” he said of the department.

For the past few years, the police department has been at the center of the city. After the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, Davenport had a night of violence where a woman was shot on the west side, and Davenport police were ambushed in the central part of town. The news made national headlines. Months of Black Lives Matter protests followed. The pandemic has led to a spike in gun violence – including the shooting deaths of three teenagers aged 12 to 16 – and gang activity, and the creation of a mayor’s task force to try to resolve the problem.

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The city said in Thursday’s statement that it plans to have a successor identified by the time Sikorski retires. Davenport will conduct a national search to identify the new leader.

To be successful, the new chief will need to be a strong leader — a leader who cares about the men and women who dedicate their lives to serving their community by working in the police department, he said.

The new leader will also need to have roots in the community, be willing to have an open perspective, listen to the community and be part of that community, Sikorski said.

The next leader must also be able to commit to being part of a bigger team — the city’s leadership team, Sikorski said.

“I think those things are really important for our next leader,” Sikorski said.

He doesn’t know what will happen after August 29 – not in the long term anyway. On August 30, he expects to train – maybe two. He said he would also like to climb a mountain or find new hiking trails.

But after that? Sikorski said he would always like to continue serving the community in some capacity.

“I’m still young,” he said. “I’m healthy. I want to do other things.”

Davenport Mayor Mike Matson wrote in an email that Sikorski is an outstanding example of positive leadership.

“I am honored to have worked and served with him during my tenure as alderman and mayor,” Matson wrote. “Chief Sikorski has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the profession of law enforcement. He cares about this city and its citizens and I will miss his service to the community when he retires. I wish him and his family the absolute best.”

Moline Police Department Chief Darren Gault wrote that he had known Sikorski most of his career.

“He has been a strong leader throughout his career, not just for the city of Davenport, but in the Quad Cities,” Gault wrote. “We have worked closely on several projects and he has always involved other agencies in Davenport’s initiatives to improve the community.”

Gault cited Sikorski’s collaboration with other departments on the use of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network’s Ballistic Evidence Database.

Davenport Police established a firearms unit in 2018 that uses the Integrated Ballistic Identification System, which allows crime scene technicians to test suspect firearms and recovered casings.

The resulting data is then entered into NIBIN, a federal database. Regional and national investigators can search the database to see if a tested weapon has been used in other crimes.

“As a defense attorney and someone who is concerned about police brutality and racism and those kinds of issues, I would say the Davenport Police Department is similar to many police departments in that sense he has these issues,” Eric Puryear said when asked. to assess the department under Sikorski’s leadership. “I don’t think it’s noticeably worse than the surrounding departments, but it’s not noticeably better either.”

There are issues that could have been addressed better that have not been addressed, Puryear said.

“I’d like to see accountability top down,” Puryear said. “I’d like to see a police chief who actually deals with the issues with the head of the department – so I’m talking about officer misconduct being dealt with, citizen complaints being dealt with.”

Puryear would like the next police chief to act on these issues.

Puryear said every day there were Davenport police officers doing their job well, professionally and courteously – but that should be the norm.

“But I think that’s really what we should expect,” Puryear said.

Working with the police department with Sikorski as chief has been remarkable in trying to address growing crime in the community, said Michael Guster, president of Davenport NAACP.

“Chief Sikorski has fostered a great relationship in terms of working with the NAACP to bring about big change in the community,” Guster said.

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