CENTRALIA POLICE CHIEF RESIGNS AMID QUESTIONS SURROUNDING TICKETS

CENTRALIA — The City of Centralia released shocking news Wednesday evening that Police Chief Greg Dodson would be retiring effective Friday, May 6, 2022. Dodson served the City for 22 years first as a patrol officer, then rising through the ranks to Sergeant and then Lieutenant, before being appointed Police Chief on November 12, 2019.

According to Lt. Steve Whritenour, he received notice from the City Wednesday that he will take over as acting police chief as soon as Dodson’s retirement goes into effect Friday.

“Here at CPD, we’re sad to see Chief Dodson go, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. I look forward to serving the people of Centralia with integrity and transparency as we move forward during this transition period,” Whritenour said Wednesday.

Dodson’s retirement announcement comes as questions are swirling about a series of citations that were issued to a motorist in March that were apparently voided on or sometime before the scheduled court date written on the tickets.

According to copies of the citations, they were issued the evening of March 7, 2022, to former Centralia City Manager Dan Ramey for improper lane usage, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and failure to signal. The citations also note the vehicle registration was expired and listed April 11, 2022, court date.

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, officers or their agency have 48 hours to submit citations to the appropriate circuit clerk’s office.

A search of online court data does not show the traffic violations were ever filed with the Marion County Circuit Clerk’s Office where the citations indicated they would be filed.

Then on or about April 11, the officer apparently voided all three citations. Records indicate Ramey provided proof of insurance, which would explain the one citation being voided. But the City is not releasing an explanation for the other two citations being voided.

While voiding citations is up to the discretion of the officer who issues the ticket, questions remain as to who ultimately made the decision to first withhold the tickets and to then void the final two.