Village of Cordova Disbands Its Police Force Because of Corruption

The Cordova Village Board voted late Thursday to disband the town’s police force after nearly a year of controversy that has resulted in a wrongful termination lawsuit and criminal charges.

The board voted to override Mayor Bob Vanhooreweghe’s veto of the board’s motion to disband last month. The department will be dissolved Dec. 31.

“When they’re stuck on stupid, there ain’t much you can do about it,” Vanhooreweghe said before the meeting.

Board member Dean Moyer, who voted for the motion to disband, said Thursday the decision was “the right thing to do,” adding the department has “become an unmanageable mess, too many troubles, too many issues.”

As an alternative, the board has suggested contracting with the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department or sharing Port Byron’s contract with the sheriff’s office.

“We can save money and have a better organization,” Moyer said.

The Cordova Police Department has taken numerous hits this year. In April, then-Chief Todd Allen resigned two days after the mayor fired officer Richard Wallen. Wallen has since filed a lawsuit in Rock Island County against the village, claiming he was illegally let go.

Meanwhile, officer Ray Goossens was arrested in August and charged with one felony count of intimidation. He allegedly intimidated the president of the Cordova Dragway Park, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Chris Endress said at the time of Goossens’ arrest.

Goossens, whose trial is set for January, faces two to five years in prison if convicted of the Class 3 felony.

Cordova, a town of 672 about 25 miles northeast of the Quad-Cities, used to employ four full-time police officers, including a police chief. Earlier this year, the village board cut full-time hours back to part-time.

Two officers have been on leave for months and the department has been without a police chief since Allen resigned.

The board voted over the summer to attempt to terminate one of the two remaining officers, Ryan Gaines. These days, he’s working only 10 hours a week as an officer at $10.50 an hour, he said.

The council voted Thursday to put Gaines on a four-week suspension.

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