UPDATE: Former Moline Police Chief changes plea on OWI charge

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SCOTT COUNTY, Ia. (KWQC) - UPDATE 11-7-18 Court records show that former Moline Police Chief John Hitchcock entered a guilty plea to a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

UPDATE 10-15-18Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner released a statement that Police Chief John Hitchcock announced his intent to retire, effective immediately.

We had several discussions over the weekend and he understands the issues and challenges of the public’s perception if he came back to the Moline Police Department which led to his decision. He stated to me that he wants to do what is best for the men and women of the Moline Police Department and the citizens of Moline.

Despite the circumstances of this recent traffic stop, those that were fortunate enough to have served with John will speak of his honor and the high degree of integrity exhibited throughout his nearly 27 year law enforcement career. The improvements exhibited by the Police Department under his command were exemplary. His retirement from the department is a significant loss for the City.

Preparations have begun to commence a search for a new police chief according to Maxeiner.

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UPDATE 10-10-18 According to court records, Moline Police Chief John Hitchcock pleaded not guilty to a charge of operating while under the influence, first offense in a written plea on Wed. Oct. 10, 2018.
No other information is available.
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UPDATE 10/2: TV6 spoke to Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner who says he received the report on the city's investigation into Chief John Hitchcock's OWI charge just last Friday.

Now Maxeiner is reviewing the report and is expected to announce a decision on Hitchcock's fate "sometime next week."

Maxeiner says he expects to announce "within the next couple of days" a decision on Capts. Fisk and Johnson, who have both returned to work.

UPDATE: Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner has issued an update in regards to the video footage of Chief Hitchcock.

The City of Moline received the video footage of the traffic stop involving Police Chief Hitchcock from the Iowa State Police. The City has not received the incident report on this incident from the ISP. Regardless, the City’s investigation continues and will be handled according to state and federal law, including the Uniform Peace Officers’ Disciplinary Act, to ensure proper procedures are followed and to ensure due process for the involved officers.

For the best interests of the operations of the Police Department, Captains Fisk and Johnson will return to full duty on Thursday, September 20, 2018. However, the investigation continues and a decision on disciplinary action for the captains, if warranted, will be made once the investigation of their actions is complete and reviewed by the City Administrator and City Attorney. If disciplinary action is determined to be warranted, it is anticipated that such discipline will be issued by October 1st.

Chief Hitchcock remains on paid administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing. An anticipated completion date on the investigation of Chief Hitchcock’s role in the incident has not been identified at this time.

Lt. Dave Gass will continue to serve in the role of Acting Chief until further notice.

UPDATE: The Iowa State Patrol has released a portion of the dashcam video from the evening a trooper pulled over Moline Police Chief John Hitchcock for speeding. In the video, you cannot hear Hitchcock's response while he's in the car.

"Hello, what's your hurry?"
(inaudible)
"What?"
(inaudible)
"90 in a 65. Where is ya coming from?"
(inaudible)
"Okay. How much you've been drinking?"
"Not that much?"
(inaudible).
"Where do you work?"
(inaudible)
"City of Moline?
(inaudible)
"I'm going to have you step out for me."
(inaudible)
"Do you have your weapon on you?"
"Okay, go ahead and step out."
Chief Hitchcock steps out and walks to patrol car.
Chief Hitchcock: "I apologize, I didn't know I was going that fast.
video ends

TV-6 requested all of the dashcam videos, but only received a portion of it. The Iowa State Patrol says the remainder of the video is a part of the confidential investigative report.

UPDATE 9/13/18 4:45 pm: TV6 has learned that there are discrepancies in the court documents regarding the Moline Police Chief's ticket.

In the affidavit, the trooper wrote Chief John Hitchcock was traveling over 90 mph in a 65 mile per hour zone on Highway 61.

However, in the criminal complaint, the trooper wrote Chief Hitchcock was traveling 75 in a 65.

Speaking not about Chief Hitchcock's case but in general terms, Sergeant Nathan Ludwig with the Iowa State Patrol tells TV6 that officers do have the discretion to cite a driver at a slower speed than the speed they were actually caught going.

Ludwig also says officers have the discretion to not cite a driver at all for certain offenses if the officer deems it to be appropriate based on "the totality of the circumstances."

UPDATE 9/11/18 4:36 PM: Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner released an update in the incident involving Cheif Hitchcock.

No new information was received by the City today. The incident report from the Iowa State Police arresting officer is not complete and is not expected to be received before Wednesday afternoon. All three employees remain on paid administrative leave at this time.
No further comment will be provided until the incident report has been obtained from the Iowa State Police.

UPDATE 9/10/18 6:22 PM: Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner released an update tonight on the complaint filed with the Scott County Court Clerk against Police Chief John Hitchcock.

Maxeiner says the City received the complaint and is utilizing the services of a local law firm to gather additional facts and conduct an investigation into the incident. He says while the City expects the investigation to be completed expeditiously there is currently no estimated completion date.

Maxeiner also says two other Police Department employees were in the vehicle at the time Hitchcock was stopped. He says Captain Trevor Fisk and Captain Brian Johnson have been placed on administrative leave as a precaution, while a preliminary investigation is completed. He says this was done as a precaution to make sure there were no improprieties during or after the traffic stop.

Neither Fisk nor Johnson was charged by the Iowa State Police in the incident and Maxeiner says the City has not received any report or suggestion of improper activity during or after the traffic stop.

In an e-mail, Maxeiner writes, "We continue to look into the matter but expect both Captains will be returned to their positions in the Police Department once the incident report from the arresting officer is released."

He says he will provide another update Tuesday at 4:30 pm.

UPDATE 9/10/2018 12:24 PM: Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri has said the investigation is ongoing and will be doing an on-camera interview about the situation this Thursday or Friday.

UPDATE 9/10/2018 10:19 AM: According to court documents, on September 7th, around 6 p.m. an Iowa state trooper saw Chief Hitchcock's car coming up behind him at a high rate of speed.

After the trooper activated his radar unit, it was determined Hitchcock was going 90MPH in a 65MPH speed zone. He was then pulled over and advised why he was pulled over. Hitchcock said, "He did not realize he was going that fast".

Court documents say the trooper could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from inside the car. It goes on to say Hitchcock had bloodshot and watery eyes and slurred speech.

When asked if he had anything to drink, Hitchcock said: "he had a few".

The trooper then proceeded to perform a standard field sobriety test. Documents show Hitchcock failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand the test.

Hitchcock's initial breath test was .186%, he was then taken to the Elridge Police Department for further testing. His final BAC test was .201%

He was cited and released for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and for speeding.

Chief Hitchcock had an initial appearance in court Monday morning. TV6 asked if he had anything to say, he said "no comment" An arraignment hearing is set for October 11, at 8:30 a.m.

According to ISP, Chief Hitchcock was pulled over at mile marker 129 on Highway 61. That's the Park View exit.

ISP tells TV-6 it is not uncommon in larger metropolitan communities in Iowa to cite and release on a first OWI offense. "Nothing out of the ordinary on first offense OWI. Unless the person is unruly and not following directions, on first offense they are not taken to jail," says Sgt. Nathan Ludwig, ISP.

Chief Hitchcock will have his initial appearance in court Monday morning. Standard practice for OWI first offense is no less than 48 hours in jail and a fine, however, it is up to the judge to determine the sentence. ISP tells TV-6 it is possible Chief Hitchcock could serve that time in jail after his initial appearance.

UPDATE 9/8/2018 9:48 PM: Chief John Hitchcock has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to an updated statement from the city administrator. LT. David Gass has been named Acting Chief. Read the new statement below:

"Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner was informed by Police Chief John Hitchcock early Saturday morning of the Chief’s involvement as the subject of a traffic stop in Iowa this past Friday evening. The traffic stop reportedly resulted in charges against Chief Hitchcock, while driving his personal vehicle. The specific charges are unknown at this time and City officials do not have any of the facts or specific information on the incident. The City has initiated an investigation to determine the details. As is the City’s standard practice, Chief Hitchcock has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation. Lt. David Gass has been named Acting Chief during this administrative leave.”

UPDATE 9/8/2018 8:32 p.m.: Moline's City Administrator released this statement:

"Early this morning Chief Hitchcock self-reported an incident to me that occurred Friday evening in Iowa. However, I don’t have any details or specifics as of yet and am not able to confirm any charges at this time. The City has initiated an investigation on this matter and will use an outside investigator to handle it. As we get additional information the City will provide an update.

Doug Maxeiner
City Administrator"

UPDATE 9/8/2018 8:24 PM: ISP confirms to TV-6 this happened Friday evening on Highway 61 in Scott County, IA at 6 P.M.

ORIGINAL: According to the Iowa State Patrol (ISP), Moline Police Chief, John Hitchcock, was cited and released with driving under the influence (OWI) and speeding while driving on Highway 61 Friday night. ISP tells TV-6 Chief Hitchcock was not booked into the jail.

Moline's Mayor Stephanie Acri confirmed to TV-6, Chief Hitchcock self-reported his OWI to the city on Saturday. "We are concerned and working to take action that is in the best interest of the community," said Mayor Acri.

It is uncertain at this time what his blood-alcohol content was and exactly where he was cited. TV-6 has asked ISP for that information.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.