And then there were two

Alexis Barker, NLJ News Editor

Newcastle Police Department is down to two full-time officers, Peg Miles and Lance Riebel, after officer Laramie Frank resigned, Mayor Pam Gualtieri reported on Nov. 21 during the regular Newcastle City Council meeting. The latest resignation comes on the heels of the announcement that the new police chief, Charles Bowles, will start on Dec. 5. 

Gualtieri noted that two people have applied for officer positions. 

Because of the police shortage, Gualtieri said, the city has been using reserve officers to cover shifts. At this time, she noted that the city has six reserve officers approved by the council — Mike Staiger, David Smith, Abe Magana, Ryan Kerns, Kellie Moran and Matt Anderson. 

“We have two full-time officers, and they are getting tired,” Gualtieri said, noting that hopefully the reserve officers will be able to cover enough shifts to get those two officers some much-needed time off. 

According to Sheriff Bryan Colvard, the Weston County Sheriff’s Office is also helping to ease the burden on the two officers. 

“We are doing anything we can and anything they ask; they are not asking for much, though,” Colvard said. He noted that this does put a burden on the department, but that it isn’t anything his deputies can’t handle. 

“The guys (deputies) basically have the ability to help them out throughout the day, for the unforeseen stuff. When they ask for help on events, we make sure we cover,” Colvard said. “The deputies have also taken it upon themselves to help with things even when the city doesn’t ask.” 

As previously reported in the story “Newcastle police force now down to four,” dated July 21, the police department employs eight officers when it is at full strength.

At this time, several officers, including former Sgt. Levi Tacy and detective Richard Hillhouse, resigned following the resignation of former Chief Sam Keller. Since Keller’s May 30 resignation, Mayor Pam Gualtieri and the council’s police committee have acted as leadership for the department. 

Since that time, the department has lost two additional police officers, leaving two at the department full time as the new chief prepares to take over. 

Bowles has 23 years’ experience in law enforcement. Most recently, he served as a sergeant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol in the criminal investigations unit working on an FBI violent crimes task force, as previously reported in “A new chief may be on the way,” dated Nov. 3.

Gualtieri reported that Bowles has accepted the offer approved by the Newcastle City Council on Oct. 17, and will make $32 an hour to start and $34 an hour after the first six months.

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