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Centralia city government narrows police chief search

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Centralia Board of Aldermen is closer to naming a new police chief and will meet in a closed session Wednesday evening to discuss the hiring process. The city of Centralia has had claims that came within their community and police department that surfaced once former Centralia Police Chief Robert Bias resigned.

The board will have a closed-door meeting at 6 pm. Wednesday to discuss personnel issues. Mayor Chris Cox said the police chief search is the subject of the meeting. The city has narrowed the field to two candidates from about 15 applications, he said.

Mayor cox said that next Monday's the board of Aldermen will have a meeting will be open to the public. Thats when they hope to announce the new chief.

"we have a regular general board of aldermen meeting that we moved out until next Monday. That meeting is where I would anticipate that there would be an update about whats going on with who and if theres a new police chief that's going to be offered" said Cox.

The meeting comes after a major change in the Centralia police department. In late September, former Centralia Police Chief Robert Bias turned in his letter of resignation. Cox said Wednesday that Bias took a severance package. He did not disclose the terms of the package.

Former Centralia Police Officer Patrick McGee previously told ABC 17 News that he felt he was wrongfully fired over an alleged policy violation a month before Bias resigned. Shortly after that, former officer Logan Ferger submitted his letter of resignation.

Some residents spoke against the chief's firing.

In early October, Centralia appointed new interim police chief, Nate Stobe, and hired law firm Cunningham, Vogel & Rost to look into recent "allegations of impropriety." Cox said Wednesday that the firm was hired to investigate any formal complaints the city received. He said the city has so far received none.

"That's what I want to make sure i'm clear of. They were not brought on board to investigate anything that had went on. It was to take up and investigate anything that formerly got..accusations that formerly went through the complaint process and were brought and they were involved with anything that came up like that. We had no formal complaints that were signed. There were personnel matters that were discussed about if this then that. Those kinds of questions that you had to be forward for incase people are gonna resigned. Your gonna need to take action with someone that presently employed or anything like that" said Cox.

Mayor cox added that he feels the relationship between the police department and the city is in a good place and the city has talked things over with the department.

Joushua Blount

Joushua Blount hails from Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in media communications from the University of Toledo. He also has a master’s degree from the University Of Alabama. Roll Tide!

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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