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J-Kid slammed, Quinn defiant

Friday, Mar 27, 2009

* ISPeeved, an anonymous blog for state police troopers, is a bit, um, peeved at the choice of Jonathon Monken as the new Illinois State Police Director. Monken has no police experience and is just 29 years old. He’s been nicknamed J-Kid by the blog administrator.

Dusty Rhodes has the inside scoop on how Monken was picked. Apparently, he’s buddies with the new (and also very young) director of the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs Dan Grant…

[Monken] was interested in something like deputy chief of staff for military relations, or a senior advisor post like the one his buddy Grant had just vacated.

She also has internal react, which mirrors many of the ISPeeved comments…

“We’re all mortified. This is a slap in the face,” one near-retirement-age officer told me. “Being a good soldier doesn’t mean that you’re a good cop. Knowledge would be nice too, especially when a cop-type thing comes up.”

“Who is this guy and where did he come from? No one knows. Everybody’s befuddled. I think everybody’s shocked,” another high-ranking officer told me.

* Monken faces stiff opposition in the Illinois Senate, which must confirm his nomination…

Monken is well-suited to many state government jobs, but his skills don’t match up to what is needed for a state police director, said state Sen. Willie Delgado, D-Chicago, a former parole agent.

“I find it very concerning that Governor Quinn is so adamant about this,” Delgado said.

“I have reservations about having to cast a vote and sleep at night, knowing how it may impact the rest of the team, the state troopers, for morale, discipline and wondering what will it take to get promoted.”


“If he’s never been in any of those agencies, doesn’t know what those agencies do, hasn’t even been a police officer, hasn’t even been to the police academy, it would be very difficult to make those very tough decisions,” said Sen. John Millner, a Carol Stream Republican who was once police chief in Elmhurst.


Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) cast further uncertainties about Monken’s chances of Senate confirmation and wants to meet with Quinn and Monken to “address concerns about his background,” Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said.

* But the governor is promising a fight

“I think Jon Monken is a very good person for this, and so we are not going to yield at all,” Quinn said. “We’re going to go eyeball to eyeball with some of these senators and ask them to take a second look and examine their conscience.” […]

“I just think that’s very wrong, and we’re not going to let them get away with it,” Quinn said.

He can’t win this one.

* Related…

* Illinois State Police lab, and new director’s inexperience, under fire

* State Police Have Backlog Problem

* Audit: Backlog at state police forensic labs hurts criminal cases

* Growing DNA backlog hampering authorities

* Audit: Forensic backlog hurts criminal cases

* Madigan warns state police to comply with orders to expunge records

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 10:54 am:

    Quinn needs to focus. It’s the budget, the budget, and the budget.

    Senators on both sides of the aisle have raised very legitimate questions about Moncken’s experience, background and knowledge for this very important and sensitive position. I’m sure Moncken would have some questions if a 29-year-old state trooper was put in command of a combat brigade in Iraq.

    The concerns are very reasonable, so senators don’t need to examine their “consciences.” Quinn needs to examine his priorities. Pick your fights wisely, then fight to win.

  2. - Frank Sobotka - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:00 am:

    Troopers are taught at the Academy to be polite to the public they serve; presumably, this is a professional courtesy that makes their job easier, but also serves as a reminder of what they are there for - the public.

    Maybe it’s not Monken that needs to go to the Academy, but the complainers who need to go back for a refresher? Police have a chain of command just like the military, and at the top is civilian control.

  3. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:00 am:

    Is the problem with most police forces that the boss doesn’t know how the system works?

    Or that the boss is too much part of the system to affect meaningful changes that are necessary to improve the level of service?

    What do the Illinois State Police do that is beyond the ability of Quinn’s appointee to learn it in 30 minutes? Seriously.

    Are the cops rallying to oppose an outsider being appointed worried what will happen if a true outsider is appointed to chief their police force?

    Cops doing illegal stuff benefit from other cops inside the system protecting them. In a culture of cops protecting cops who are behaving badly, is anyone surprised the cops make it a priority to oppose outsiders being appointed to leadership positions?

  4. - What planet is he from again? - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:01 am:

    I too can’t see why he would expend political capitol on this one. He’s going to need every P-penny he has with this budget. Not only that, but I would think the whole Harriet Miers fiasco would be a lesson as well.

  5. - bugs - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:08 am:

    There’s a lot more than ignoring expungments that needs to be addressed in ISP-and that requires some background in some police function.There certainly must be someone out there who won’t need to rely on the present command staff that contributed plenty to make the mess,while reaping the benefits of that bureaucratic power

  6. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:09 am:

    Wordslinger is right. Quinn has to focus on the big fight, and let this one go. The Governor should not be expending what little capital he has left over this.

    My insiders have told me that Monken is a sincere, aware, and honest kid. They support him. He is not a bad guy. He is a good politician, and knows how to impress.

    But the people he will be leading expect skills along with positive impressions. He lacks these. So, I do not believe he should be confirmed.

    Monken is impressive and will survive a “no” vote. This isn’t the time, and this just isn’t his place for him.

    There should be no controversy. Quinn needs to cut his loses and move on.

  7. - Levois - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:13 am:

    Why can’t Quinn hire someone who is experienced in policing? Why hire someone who has never served as a law enforcement officer?

  8. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:14 am:

    This just doesn’t make sense. His wanting to appoint Monken, and his apparent decision to stand by that appointment through thick and thin.

    Why waste your time on this? I just don’t get it. Sure, we need a good ISP head, and I guess thinking outside the box isn’t awful, and I know this would fulfill Quinn’s obligation/commitment to veterans but…isn’t there a military AND police veteran who’s slightly older than 29 and qualified?


  9. - Levois - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:14 am:

    J-Kid is almost a rip-off of J-Fed isn’t it?

  10. - Leave a light on George - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:16 am:

    “What do the Illinois State Police do that is beyond the ability of Quinn’s appointee to learn it in 30 minutes? Seriously.”

    There’s an idea that will save Illinois serious amounts of tax dollars. No need for police academy training academy - just a quick 30 minute orientation and you’re good to go.

  11. - Hank - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:24 am:

    I wonder if Quinn will fight with the same fervor that he fought against Burris and the Special election? Should, shouldn’t, should, should’t
    I’m dizzy

  12. - Happy flower world - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    It isn’t the age. Heck the younger the better since with the cuts this state is taking he will have to work 20 hours days for at least the next 2 years. But he has no experience. In my opinion Hannig is only slightly different because he has budget experience but no construction/engineering experience.

    The gentlemen sounds qualified for a number of management positions that Quinn needs to get moving and fill to restore morale at state agencies but for the State Police we need someone who knows the trade.

    I also understand that Quinn thinks Vets should be held at a higher regard (I agree), but that doesn’t mean that they can do every job. By his rationale this kid could be surgeon general. If his tours of duty had included being an MP he would not be getting the flak he is getting. This isn’t going to be a fight with the senate. The battle is over.

  13. - BehindTheScenes - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:28 am:

    Wow! A 26-week course in the ISP Academy can be covered in just 30 minutes? Are you serious? Wrong choice for this job, Governor. Just wrong.

    And, if he should get past the Senate, and carry though on his plan to attend the academy, pay him what rookie troopers ear while there, but, make him pass the test before attending. I know of serving officers (in other agencies) who have tested and failed the banding process ISP uses on more than one occasion.

  14. - GA Watcher - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:34 am:

    As a fellow West Pointer, I believe CPT Monken should bail out his commanding officer by withdrawing his name from consideration.

  15. - Little Egypt - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:51 am:

    We have had a child graduate from West Point. The fact that J-kid attained the rank of Captain and left the military is not really a huge accomplishment. Upon graduation ALL academy grads are 2Lt., about 18 months later are 1LT, then about 30 months later become Captain. Monken would have been a very new Captain.

    The fact that he led 100 missions in Iraq is pretty much normal. That means instead of going out daily, his team went out about every 3rd day. Some of those missions are considered “routine patrol” and are not necessarily done in a tank but in a Hummer. Congrats to J-kid for no casualties. As I see it, that’s about the only thing he can hang his hat on. But be assured that there were many people above J-kid who were calling the shots and planning those routine patrols. J-kid was just the one who would take the flak for any incidents.

    The academies teach great management skills. J-kid would be suitable for any such position but riding along in the back seat of a Hummer (the commanding Col. would have been in the front with the driver) certainly does not qualify J-kid for any law enforcement experience nor does it qualify him to be Director of the Illinois State Police.

    I suggest Quinn dig back into that black bag and come up with another nominee.

    BTW, academy grads are required to put in 5 years of active duty upon graduation and if they leave at that point, they are honorably discharged as a Captain. J-kid did the minimum 5 and nothing more. That means that J-kid has been working now in the real world for 2 years. There may be a 29 year old out there somewhere who has the qualifications to lead the Illinois State Police. However, this isn’t the one.

  16. Pingback ALL AROUND TROY » Blog Archive » State Police Director - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 11:51 am:

    […] Rich Miller has a good summary of the growing concern over Governor Quinn’s choice of Jonathan Monken as the new State Police Director.  He also links to ISPeeved, a blog of anonymous concerned State Police employees. […]

  17. - Anon2 - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    Just because he made it to Capt doesn’t mean he can lead ISP. He has never been responsible for managing money. He led other army men that were trained like he was trained. He has no experience. Maybe if he was military police. He is just going to be a “yes” man, but that may be Quinn’s purpose. But maybe Quinn wants him not to be approved so he can say I’m not infallible.

  18. - Excessively rabid - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    Quinn is showing signs of a tendency to take an irrational or extreme position, then defend it tooth and nail. We had that already. We need a pragmatic deal-maker with the public interest at heart.

  19. - Excessively rabid - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:08 pm:

    And by the way, he’s an unelected caretaker governor with no mandate. Somebody please put a post-it on his bathroom mirror that says that.

  20. - Just My Opinion - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:14 pm:

    I’m a retired state employee and was the IT manager for one of the larger State agencies. Our state agencies are full of upper management people who have survived many administrations, have been the ones who have actually run the departments behind the scenes, and who would be extremely qualified for any of the positions as head of agencies. I have NEVER understood why upward mobility in this state stops at the Director’s door. Politics should never trump experience - but it does. I’m disappointed at this kid’s inability to see that he is not qualified for the position and instead is resting on his West Point laurels, counting on that to take him to great heights.

  21. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:19 pm:

    You know, I’m pretty certain that Moncken is not the best choice for the job.

    But I’m absolutely certain that once you’ve put your life on the line for your country in a battle zone, you’re no longer a “kid.”

    Show the man some respect, folks.

  22. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:28 pm:

    If you read the Rhodes story it seems to be a bit of being in the right place at the right time. Is that they way to pick a head of the state police, as seen in the Lab audit and the expungment stuff someone who has some more managerial experience would be a better pick

  23. - Frank Sobotka - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:34 pm:

    But I’m absolutely certain that once you’ve put your life on the line for your country in a battle zone, you’re no longer a “kid.”

    Quoted for truth.

  24. - Dudeman - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:50 pm:

    Was the last Director of the State Police “QUALIFIED”? I guess qualified for IL State Police means you can lie to the legislature and run the organization into the ground. We need somebody more like that!!? I’ll take inexperienced Director that has lead troops in Iraq or anywhere in a warzone than another crooked well-connected “experienced” state trooper.

  25. - Amy - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:52 pm:

    State Police have a backlog problem. and yet the new director defended his troops saying they have made changes, which could not have come this fast with his appointment, so he’s defending their actions. they who are complaining about him. anyone wonder why someone from the outside had to come in to direct the troops? even if they found a police officer who was older, they would still complain because he is an outsider. just like Chicago, where they complain because a Fed came in to lead them, a fed who came up from the bomb division. why the fear of an outsider?

  26. - Cassandra - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 12:53 pm:

    I’m fine with Monken. The ISP will survive and likely even prosper under a young new broom. And while there are probably a number of experienced senior administrators in state agencies who have made valuable contributions, a lot of them are dozing away to retirement as well. Being in a state agency a long, long time does not mean you are can lead. It means you can survive.

    Think of all the promising young folks who got the same treatment from the media and from entrenched interests who are terrified of real change: Obama,
    Bill Clinton in Arkansas and in his White House race, and in Chicago Arne Duncan and more recently, Ron Huberman at CPS. We may not have loved everything they did, but they have performed
    very well.

  27. - Leave a light on George - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:04 pm:

    Somebody go ask the DNR cops how it worked out for them. They had a chief and two deputy chiefs all whose very first assignment was to attend basic academy training. I think one of them is still employed at DNR. It wasn’t pretty.

  28. - Objective Dem - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:14 pm:

    From today’s Suntimes “Quoth Monken to Sneed: “Exercise is my stress relief. You get it all out. That’s why I love football — you get to hit people.” Wow, what a mature young man.

    And the other day he was saying about how he wanted to go through State Police Weapons training. This indicates to me that he doesn’t really understand his job or the skills he needs. He just wants to play with the toys.

    I really don’t know how anyone can defend this young man/kid. (While he served in the military his immature statements make him a kid in my book) He has no experience in government. He has no experience managing people outside the military. He has no experience in police work. A deputy position may be okay, but Director of a major state agency.. No way.

  29. - fed up - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:29 pm:

    Why dont we just make Monken the states chief financial officer or put him in charge of one of the states university’s sure he knows nothing about those things but he has friends in the right places and he can learn what he needs to latter.
    If this was Todd Stroger apointing a friend of a friend to run an important assignment in Crook Co. everyone would be all over him. But good old reformer (I kept my mouth shut and cashed the checks for 6 years) Pat Quinn does it so it must be legit. This is what is wrong with statecounty and city goverment. Was there a Job posting where qualifications ever posted, was a search for qualified canidates conducted or did Quinn just use a friends recommendation of his buddy.

  30. - Irishpirate - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:39 pm:

    I like Pat Quinn, but he screwed the pooch on this one.

    Monken does not have the experience to head the State Police.

    If Quinn continues to make seat of the pants decisions like this I might have to consider going over to the dark(Madigan) side. “The dark side is powerful it is”.

  31. - Onthebeat - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:44 pm:

    Id’ feel better about Quinn “wrapping himself in the flag”, if he’d served time in Vietnam rather than Canada.

  32. - Bill - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:52 pm:

    The military has prepared Mr. Monken for many challenges in life, however no police experience means no police experience. The State Police needs a change in direction and a back to the basics approach. We need someone who will go in and clean house in the upper command. I think there are better candidates out for task.

  33. - Anon - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:55 pm:

    This is pretty common from a state police perspective. Place the least qualified in the most important, highest paying positions. Look at the riverboats.

  34. - Objective Dem - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 1:57 pm:

    I think Quinn is starting to get an overblown ego. He nominates someone with little if any relevant experience for an important post. Then, when the legislature does it job and doesn’t rubberstamp his selection; Quinn says they should “examine their conscience” and “I just think that’s very wrong, and we’re not going to let them get away with it.

    Gov. Quinn, last time I checked this is a democracy with checks and balances. If the Congress did their job a few years ago, we would have not ended up with Brownie in charge of FEMA and the Katrina response. To say they need to check their conscience because they oppose your choice is as insulting as saying they spend money like drunken sailors. I thought we had move beyond that type of ego and politics.

  35. - Objective Dem - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 2:44 pm:

    This issue has definitely upset me more than most. I think the reason is I was honestly hoping that we were going to move towards more professional government. I thought Quinn as an “outsider” would make decisions based on qualifications rather than “who someone knows” I was very wrong.

  36. - this old hack - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 4:59 pm:

    “We’re going to go eyeball to eyeball with some of these senators and ask them to take a second look and examine their conscience.”

    “I just think that’s very wrong, and we’re not going to let them get away with it,” Quinn said.

    Oh brother. Now that Quinn has real power, he has gone back to the weird Quinn. He is going to go to the mat on this??? There are WAY too many Blagoof holdovers and unqualifieds coming into this administration.

    And here I thought Pat Quinn had grown up and was ready to leave the silliness he used to engage in behind and go to real leadership. I see I was wrong.

  37. - North of I-80 - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 7:33 pm:

    26 week academy now condensed to 30 minutes!! I should have waited until Carl’s program to go through it…
    It not only takes the academy to learn traffic law, criminal law, administration, basic police science [Carl.. can you condense a 4-year degree in law enforcement to your 30 min session too? How about Northwestern’s 6 month police administration series?] but another 6 months of field training and probabtion to be sure that law enforcement decisions are rooted in law & policy.

    Aside from the lack of confidence from the troops, J-Kid would be a sitting duck for the upper brass at ISP to sway into making wrong decisions since he doesn’t know what “normal” is. Are the priorities of ISP to be drugs? guns? seat belts? truck enforcement? gang crime? should they be working the inner cities, helping local officers or should they be sitting out on the deserted highway, looking for a DUI ? How will an inexperienced guy know to set priorities & balance law enforcement needs?

    There are at least a half-dozen ISP troops out there now with law degrees and approx 15 - 20 years law enforcement experience behind each… many with military experience, many teaching/education experience. Many have attended the FBI academy, Northwestern University and others for advanced police administration training. Selecting one of these could work wonders for morale.

    If J-Kid wants to run the ISP, most are suggesting that he start by applying for the job as a cadet/trooper trainee 1st.

  38. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 7:48 pm:

    Where were all these angry comments when Daley appointed ron huberman as chief of chicago public schools. Does he have any experience in education? No.

  39. - bugs - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 8:35 pm:

    seems to demonstrate the govs lack of interest in law enforcement-sad-politics as ususual-29 years old, no experience-will follow his staff who committed to only to personal gain

  40. - litebrite - Friday, Mar 27, 09 @ 10:45 pm:

    what would make you think the higest paying jobs are on the riverboat,you are silly.

  41. - Ultra50k - Saturday, Mar 28, 09 @ 9:21 am:

    I’m no fan of this Guv or the last two…but we could at least give the new ISP Dir a chance before we bury him.

  42. - Neil Kaufman - Sunday, Mar 29, 09 @ 7:43 pm:

    Adam A for Governor video–his phrase is “every dime online in real time”–his main issue is transperancy in government:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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