The City of Virginia has accepted the resignation of their Chief of Police on the heels of allegations of inappropriate social messages sent to a minor. Bryce Kennedy submitted a letter of resignation to the city on Monday, October 5th. In the letter, Kennedy said his last day of work for the city would be Wednesday, October 7th. WAND-News in Decatur reported the resignation prior to the city council meeting Monday night.
Ward 3 Alderman Rick Cox thought it was a bit rude of the city to withhold the announcement, as Cox said he found out about the resignation only because of the news report prior to the meeting. Mayor Reg Brunk announced the appointment of Martin Fanning as the interim Chief of Police in Kennedy’s place. Fanning has been a part-time officer with the city for the past two years. Brunk says that Fanning’s full-time job with the Illinois Department of Corrections needs to have pause for consideration: “Marty and I are going to get together and decide what direction we want to go. Marty’s got a full-time job, so we just have to figure out how we are going to go with this [position] forward and from this point on.”
Brunk says that the city will work through the situation until a final decision is made: “He’s been working a little longer hours. The county helps us when we get in a pinch. They are just down the corner [from City Hall.] We want to get moving on this as fast as we can. At this point in time, I don’t know if we are going to hire two part-time officers or what. That’s why I need to sit down and talk it over with Marty.”
Fanning’s interim position will be up for reconsideration by the city council in May 2021. Brunk believes a decision will be made on a permanent chief before that time.
Speaking on the condition to remain anonymous and to protect her child’s identity, the mother of the alleged victim of the SnapChat message incident with Kennedy expressed her disagreement with how the city handled the situation. She believes that Kennedy should not be allowed to seek employment as a police officer elsewhere, and considered the incident to be grooming of a minor and horribly inappropriate for a police officer. Brunk could not divulge any further information about discussions he had with Kennedy.
Cass County Sheriff Devron Ohrn said that he hopes to wrap up his investigation into the incident and take his recommendation to States Attorney John Alvarez this week to see if Kennedy will be charged with any wrongdoing.