PRAIRIE GROVE – Former Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Ken Caudle resigned from his part-time police officer position following an investigation from the fire district into his unauthorized moonlighting.
Caudle resigned from the Prairie Grove Police Department on Feb. 12, after telling the village on Feb. 6 he planned on leaving, Village Administrator William Beith said.
In his resignation letter, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Caudle wrote he received another job offer that was “too exciting for me to decline.”
“It has been a pleasure working with you and your department for the past two years,” Caudle wrote. “One of the highlights of my career was seeing the department grow to what it is today.”
When reached by phone Friday, Caudle confirmed he left Prairie Grove police, and would not say where his next job was. He had worked for Prairie Grove since June 23, 2016.
An investigation into Caudle’s time at the Huntley Fire Protection District showed he spent tens of thousands of dollars in public funds on items of questionable use to the department, according to records obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request.
Some items seem to apply to more police-oriented work than others, such as an armor-bearing duty vest, “ballistics,” handcuff restraints, tactical jackets and belts, and a taser recertification course.
Authorities also questioned Caudle for activating his lights while driving his fire district vehicle and pulling behind a police car to assist an officer in a traffic stop, records show.
Despite a clause in his contract with the Huntley Fire Protection District that said he could not work other jobs while earning almost $150,000 a year as fire chief, Caudle held several others during his time as chief, records show.
Prairie Grove Police Department Chief Tony Colatorti said Caudle was not asked to resign and said he had no knowledge of Caudle’s double-logged hours to both Prairie Grove and the Huntley Fire Protection District. The hours were logged in May and Colatorti was officially appointed as police chief in November 2017.
Caudle earned around $19 an hour as a part-time officer and he had no spending authority with the police department, Colatorti said.