WASHINGTON, Ill. -- A big change is in store for one local law enforcement department.
In a surprise move, Washington Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker says he will retire at the end of the month.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, the 50-year-old Kuchenbecker confirmed he is taking a position in Canton as Public Safety Director.
Kuchenbecker says he was approached by Canton Mayor Jeffrey Fritz for the new job.
Washington Mayor Gary Manier says Kuchenbecker was very active throughout the region.
"He was very visible in the community and very active in different programs and professionalism and training he brought to it," said Manier.
"Things have improved, a lot of it is technology related. The city and the chief worked hard to make sure that when we got the opportunity to remodel this building they really listened to the officers," said Deputy Police Chief Don Volk.
In a post on the Washington Police Department Facebook page, Manier acknowledged that there had been rumors about the chief's future employment with the city.
He says Chief Kuchenbecker told him several weeks ago that he planned to retire once he turned 50, in June. Manier says the chief asked him to hold the information 'in confidence' while he searched for another job.
"In this profession 50 is kind the golden number they can get for a good retirement," said Manier. "I've known it for five or six weeks that it's his desire to retire and obviously he was pursuing other opportunities so we waited to do the release."
Manier says Kuchenbecker will use accumulated vacation and personal leave from now until his official retirement on June 30. He is scheduled to start his new job in Canton on July 8.
Deputy Chief Don Volk will take over as head of the City's Police Department.