Columbia starts search for interim police chief

Ken Burton's last day was Thursday

Next steps to replace Chief of CPD

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Interim City Manager John Glascock said in a memo to CPD staff that he will start the search for a police chief to take over for former Chief Ken Burton.

However, the decision on a permanent police chief will be made by the permanent city manager, once they are hired.

This comes after Glascock put Burton on paid administrative leave for unknown reasons Dec. 20. When asked, the city said it cannot give any information as to why he was put on leave, citing "personnel issues." 

He is one of a few high-ranking city officials to leave since November. That month, City Manager Mike Matthes resigned after a controversy over plans to reorganize the police department's Community Outreach Unit. Sources said Thursday that Deputy City Manager JJ Musgrove was also leaving his job. 

Burton submitted his resignation Friday and it became effective at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Glascock said the new city manager will be responsible for hiring the permanent police chief. In the interim, Deputy Chief Jill Schlude is the acting chief. Burton has not made himself available for comment, and did not answer Thursday when an ABC 17 News reporter knocked on his door at home.

For now, Glascock is taking the reigns on hiring an interim police chief. 

In a memo to Columbia Police Department command staff and "interested candidates," Glascock said the new police chief must lead by example and be able to make tough decisions.

The city is accepting applications for interim police chief until 5 p.m. Jan. 10.

Glascock said a letter must be submitted for interested applications highlighting how the applicant, if selected, would improve the following issues:

  • Unity of staff within the Columbia Police Department
  • Implementation of the city council resolution on community policing
  • Racial disparity contained in the Vehicle Stops Report and steps, if any, needed to become more in line with the demographics of the city of Columbia; and
  • Analysis and review of existing departmental policies with an eye toward officer safety and respect for the citizens.

"I think there is certainly the potential a search firm will be employed to look for the next chief of police, that will be a decision that will be made by the new city manager," Sapp said. "So that's pure speculation on my part."

Sapp said he does not think there are any front runners for the position, despite Jill Schlude taking over as acting police chief during the search for an interim.

"I don't think there are any front runners, according to Mr. Glascock, I think he'll have a very open mind as he goes into this," Sapp said. 

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