The embroiled former Chief of Police in Virginia who resigned last year over allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to a teen has found a new job near Springfield.
Springfield Leaks reports that ex-Virginia Police Chief Bryce Kennedy has been hired on as a full-time police officer at the Grandview Village Police Department. Kennedy was first placed on administrative leave in September 2020 and an investigation was started by Cass County Sheriff Devron Ohrn after inappropriate social media messages came to the attention of former Virginia Mayor Reg Brunk. Kennedy resigned from his position as Virginia Police Chief on October 7, 2020 after alleged inappropriate messages between him and a 13 year old girl were made public.
In released documents from the Grandview Police, it was revealed that 20 year old Devan Rice of Virginia, who was arrested on June 14, 2021 by Illinois State Police for Solicitation of Child Pornography, Traveling to Meet a Child , and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, allegedly had a relationship with the victim of the messages and leaked to them public in an effort to get back at Kennedy. Kennedy allegedly had given Rice a cannabis citation while serving as Police Chief in Virginia in 2020. Rice pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of child pornography in Cass County Court on December 15th. Rice is due for sentencing on February 24th.
According to Kennedy’s personnel file obtained by Springfield Leaks, he worked as a security guard at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield prior to being hired by the Grandview Police Department as a full-time officer on September 7, 2021.
Grandview Village Mayor Maria Ray told Springfield Leaks that she nor the Village of Grandview Board of Trustees were aware of the inappropriate messages that occurred while Kennedy served as Police Chief in Virginia until after Kennedy was hired and started working. May says she and the Board of Trustees are currently working on better transparency between Village Administration and the Police Department.
May says her and the board were made aware of text messaging incident in November 2021 and began questioning Grandview Police Chief Kirk Beatty, several officials in Cass County, and The Illinois State Police and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. After completing a review of Kennedy’s conduct, Springfield Leaks reports that Ray placed the following note in his personnel file: “Cass County Sheriff’s Office and the Cass County State’s Attorney’s office was contacted. No warrants arrests, or charges against Officer Bryce Kennedy. The action of Officer Bryce Kennedy may appear improper, it was fully investigated by Cass County. As it stands, there are no reasons or prohibitions for Officer Kennedy to be a police officer. Kennedy was confronted by the Village of Grandview’s President about this incident and was honest and forthcoming during this review. Neither the underage girl’s Mom or Dad reported anything according to the Sheriff. The Sheriff report the family and Kennedy are on first name basis. Kennedy’s professional references were okay according to Chief Kirk Beatty and report Kennedy to have never been in trouble, which match conversation the Village of Grandview President had with Sheriff Devron Orhn. The Sheriff reported that Kennedy is a good worker and Sheriff Orhn never had any problems with Kennedy. Both Officer Bryce Kennedy and Sheriff Devron Orhn’s stories regarding how the snapchat screen shots were released match. The boyfriend of the underage girl received a marijuana citation from Officer Kennedy and the underage girl’s boyfriend released the screenshots to the media. Information on boyfriend who leaked information to the media and recent arrest [were found in local media].” A link to Devan Rice’s arrest was attached to the review.
According to further reporting in the Springfield Leaks report, the review did not address a question on the Grandview Police Department’s employment application asking Kennedy if he ever resigned or left a job by mutual agreement following allegations of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. An alleged screenshot copy of Kennedy’s supposed application has the box marked “no.”
Grandview Village Administration says that they have since adopted the ILETSBEI hiring protocols for all current and future police. In addition to the changes, Springfield Leaks reports that Village Police Chief Kirk Beatty submitted his resignation/retirement letter on December 9th with an effective date of December 31st. A replacement is on the village’s agenda for later this month.