Public Safety

Iowa City Police Chief Jody Matherly to retire

City manager hopeful to have replacement in place by the end of August

Iowa City Police Chief Jody Matherly speaks at a news conference in November 2017. Matherly, 57, has announced his inten
Iowa City Police Chief Jody Matherly speaks at a news conference in November 2017. Matherly, 57, has announced his intention to retire. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Three years after coming to Iowa City, Police Chief Jody Matherly has announced his retirement.

An official retirement date has not yet been set, City Manager Geoff Fruin said in a statement Thursday. Matherly, will continue as chief until the date is set. The city also will embark on a nationwide search to fill the position.

In a statement, Matherly, who is 57, alluded to health concerns driving his decision to retire.

“I could not have dreamed that serving the Iowa City community over the last three years would have had such a positive impact on me,” he said.

“Over the past couple years, I have experienced some health concerns, which prompted me to reflect on what the future holds. I decided that while my well-being and the police department are both in a good place, now is the perfect time to transition to the next chapter.”

Matherly was sworn in as chief on Jan. 23, 2017. He was hired in December 2016 after a search to replace Sam Hargadine.

Matherly’s law enforcement career began with smaller departments in Michigan. He served with the Flint, Mich., Police Department from 1987 to 2003, when he came to Iowa to become the Grinnell police chief. Matherly became the Altoona chief in 2012.

Fruin told The Gazette on Thursday that with Matherly’s long career, he knew when the new police chief was hired that he wasn’t likely to be in Iowa City for a long time.

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While Matherly’s tenure was shorter that Fruin anticipated, he said he “didn’t anticipate the sort of progress” Matherly made in his time as chief. Fruin noted that Matherly oversaw the creation of a new police department mission statement “that emphasizes community partnerships and empowerment of victims.” He praised Matherly for leading by example and working to strengthen relationships within the community.

Fruin said Matherly worked hard to build bonds within the police department and city hall, as well as organizations, stakeholder groups and people in the community.

“I really draw attention to the relationship-based approach that he took to his work,” Fruin said. “Bonds are a lot stronger today than they were three years ago. That’s something he worked really hard on.”

Added Fruin, “That’s the biggest impact he’s made. He’s just led by example and really established the bar pretty high for the next person to assume that role.”

Fruin said he’ll be looking for someone “who can cultivate leadership throughout the department” and emphasized “fit” as a quality he values in a chief. Fruin said he hopes to move “fairly quickly” with a search for a chief and hopes to have someone in place by the end of August.

Matherly likely will not stay on throughout that process, and the department will rely upon interim chiefs to get them through that time frame, Fruin said.

Fruin said details of the search process, including opportunities for the public to weigh in, will be released later in February.

Matherly’s salary is $166,212.80.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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