Hansell Out as Police Chief, Village Advertises for Position

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 2, 2021 at 3:54pm

The Village of South Jacksonville is seeking applicants for the position of Chief of Police.

That’s the word in a press release by the Village today after news broke that Chief Eric Hansell was relieved of his duty this morning.

Village Mayor Tyson Manker said this morning following reports of Hansell’s dismissal that a press release would be forthcoming. According to the announcement from Village Administrator Tiffanee Peters, the Village is now taking applications for Chief of Police.

Peters says in the announcement that Manker has appointed officer Brian Wilson as the acting interim Chief while applications for the position are being accepted. The release makes no mention of Manker’s removal of Hansell as Chief, which was confirmed to WLDS News by Hansell today.

Village Trustee Tom Jordan said this afternoon he feels extremely disappointed.

I was very disappointed, I think it’s terrible. It’s the Mayor cutting off his nose to spite his face. Eric served us very well. He was very professional, [had] a sterling record, and very respected in the law enforcement community. I for one am assuming that the rest of the Board is very saddened and disappointed by this.”

WLDS News: “Is there any recourse you can take at this point?” Jordan: Yes, yes there will be recourse. We will have to speak to our Village Attorney and there are some measures we can take to get this reversed.”

In the official termination letter to Hansell, Manker says pursuant to Village of South Jacksonville Ordinance No. 748, his employment is terminated effective immediately.

Manker goes on to say “You have not completed an initial probationary period of at least twelve (12) months, since your September 2020 appointment, and therefore have no right to use grievance procedures or otherwise to appeal this decision.”

Hansell says he does not have an official statement at this time as he wants to discuss things with his family and possibly legal counsel and will give an official statement at that time.

In an email provided to us about the situation to Tiffanee Peters from Manker, Manker references a call between he and Hansell on Friday that “the purpose of the call was to inquire about getting ALL of the documents FOID’d by the JCC re: the Jason Hill disorderly conduct/trespass incident.”

Manker goes on to say Hansell became aggressive and goaded him into terminating his employment, which he says he refused to do. Manker says he reminded Hansell of past counselings over a sexual harassment incident and involvement in a matter regarding the DUI of a former Village employee.

Hansell says no complaint was made by the village employee over the alleged sexual harassment comment in which he says he and some fellow employees who used to be involved with rodeo were engaged in conversation and the term “buckle bunny” was used.

Hansell says the alleged DUI matter involved a now-former employee who asked him for help in understanding the process for getting their drivers license from being suspended for a previous driving under the influence conviction, which Hansell says he helped the employee, but did not try to “pull any strings” nor was he asked to.

Manker alleges Hansell ““then said if I held him accountable “I will be the biggest thorn in your side” and threatened to file some sort of complaint falsely alleging mistreatment with the Illinois State Police.””

Manker goes on to tell Peters that he ended the conversation and he would begin looking for Hansell’s replacement this week.

In a reply to WLDS for comment on Hansell’s Dismissal, Manker said he ‘is not at liberty to discuss personnel matters. Thanks for understanding.”