At Monday’s City Council meeting, Police Chief Raymond Hall announced his resignation effective September 2nd. Hall will start work soon with the Doniphan County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s a multitude of different reasons,” Hall said in an interview. “You’ve got your small-town politics that I think affect every small town.”
“But I advised them when they hired me that I am not a politician. That has changed quite a bit around here with the new election that came in and some appointments that have been made. It just feels like the best thing for me at this time, and my family, is to move on.”
Hall is not the first city official to resign after the election of former police chief Brian Walker to the mayor’s office earlier this year, and it appears he won’t be the last.
“It started with our City Attorney, Bill McQuillan, who resigned right after the election, and then we had a council member Tom Miller resign. And then Officer Blaine Kennedy, we had an assistant superintendent Jeff Clark, Superintendent John Hontz, myself, Officer Wisler, and I think some more to follow,” Hall said.
“It’ll be quite a change for the City of Wathena, so we’ll see what happens.”
City Superintendent John Hontz offered his resignation a week ago, but it was made public at Monday’s City Council meeting as well. Hontz is leaving August 23rd to take a similar post with the City of Atchison, Kansas.
Part-time police officer Jeremy Wisler also announced his resignation on Monday. Officer Kennedy resigned earlier, and Hall says Officer Dallas Steeby is looking for work elsewhere.
That leaves just one part-time officer on the department. Hall says the Doniphan County Sheriff’s Office is still responsible for law enforcement throughout the county. He’s says the town will still be protected, but the response times may be a little longer.
Wathena City Clerk Jim Richardson says the search for a new police chief will get underway soon.
Richardson has been instructed by the council to begin advertising for a new police chief. Richardson says they will advertise in Wathena and St Joseph, as well as in newspapers across Kansas.
The new police chief will be the third in Wathena in two years. Former Chief Brian Walker was suspended in July of 2011 for an unspecified personal matter, amid widespread rumors of impropriety. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation investigated the matter, but in September of 2011, the Kansas Attorney General announced he would not pursue charges. Walker resigned two weeks later, but earlier this year ran for mayor and won.