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City of Centralia picks new chief of police

Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 11:41 pm

Then there were two.

The evening of Tuesday, November 16, Harlan Hatton, a lieutenant with the Columbia Police Department and Ryan Stiffler, an investigator with the Callaway County Sheriff’s department took their turns before the City of Centralia’s final review board to explain why each should be ne next chief of the Centralia Police Department.

The following Monday, November 22, the aldermen unanimously voted to offer Hatton the position, which he accepted. He starts December 13.

Centralia’s new police chief Harlan Hatton being sworn in by City Clerk Tara Strain

Before the offer, the board, comprised of Major Gary German of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Don Rodgers and Robert Hudson, Centralia Ward II aldermen; Steven Chancellor, Superintendent of the Centralia R-VI School District; Chris Cox, Centralia mayor; and Interim CPD Chief Nate Stoebe. Much as before, City Administrator Heather Russell asked the main questions, 14 this time, with the committee members asking follow-up questions.

The Centralia Fireside Guard is presenting the answers to two of those questions. One a committee question, the other one of Cox’s follow-up questions.

The committee question was: “The City of Centralia and the Centralia School District are working to put together a plan for the school resource officer position that benefits all parties – the city, the school district and community. In your opinion what should the role of SRO look like, and what are the ways the SRO can build trust and relationships with the students, staff and parents, and how can the department and school district work together to establish norms and expectations?

Cox’s question was, in a nutshell: “Will you enforce the law equally with no preferential treatment, regardless of who somebody is and their economic or social position, if you or one of your officers catch me driving drunk or otherwise black and white broken the law, will you have a problem equitably dealing with that situation?

For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard