After shooting, Elgin police chief says he won't leave right away if offered job
Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said that if he is offered and accepts a job in Colorado, he will not leave Elgin for months in the wake of last week's fatal police shooting.
"If we agree on a contract, my start date would be months out to give me time to work through this," Swoboda said.
"The community and the police department are hurting and I can't leave right now. The Fort Collins city manager understands and actually appreciates that."
Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry confirmed in an email that Swoboda remains the top candidate for the police chief job and that Atteberry is "eager to continue the hiring process.
"Jeff and I have continued to communicate closely, and I am impressed with his leadership in managing this difficult situation," Atteberry said. "Out of appreciation and respect for the entire Elgin Police Department, city organization and their community, I want to ensure Jeff has space to lead through this challenging time."
Elgin resident Decynthia Clements was shot and killed March 12 by Elgin Police Lt. Christian Jensen after she fled from a traffic stop, had an hourlong standoff with officers and started a fire in her car, officials said. Police said she had a knife; Jensen was put on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Illinois State Police.
This is the first fatal police shooting in Elgin in nearly 20 years. Residents have been protesting daily in front of the police department since March 13, demanding release of police body camera video. Swoboda said he plans to release that by the end of this week, when the state police is expected to be done with interviews.
Earlier this month, Atteberry said a job offer could come last week, pending background checks. The required checks have been completed, Fort Collins officials confirmed.
Atteberry said he plans to meet in person with Swoboda next week, but Swoboda cautioned he's not sure yet he can leave town at that time.
Fort Collins has an interim police chief and the city manager can fill the position permanently without a vote from the city council.