There is a new marshal in town and Monroe City residents can expect to see a number of changes in the operation of the city police department when newly-elected city marshal Tyler Wheeler takes the oath of office on Thursday, April 20.
However, most of those changes will be implemented gradually and many will be inter-departmental and not visible to the public.
Wheeler was the winner of the three-way race for a one-year unexpired term as city marshal of Monroe City in the April 4 Municipal Election. The city marshal serves as the chief of the Monroe City Police Department. With 219 votes, Wheeler overcame challengers Linda Greening and acting police chief John Albright. Greening garnered 134 votes and Albright got 164 votes.
Wheeler anticipates one of the first changes will be to open the front door of the police station to the public and have an officer on duty during the day to take care of citizen needs.
"I want to have a proactive police department, not a reactive one," Wheeler said.
To accomplish this goal, Wheeler plans to have city police officers out in the community, talking with and getting to know the residents and their needs as much as possible. He also plans for the police department to be involved and participate in community events such as sponsoring a Bike Rodeo for youngsters.
"I got a lot of suggestions during my campaigning as I went door to door. These are some of the top priorities the citizens would like to see," Wheeler said.
One of the top in-house projects will be to update the departments’ policies and procedures. Wheeler emphasized that this project is an ongoing one and does not reflect a lack of effort on the current city marshal.
Another step in making changes will be to visit one-on-one with each of the department’s seven officers to learn what they feel is working or not working in the department and go from there.
Wheeler said he is not planning on any staff changes at this point.
Currently a Marion County detective with the Northeast Missouri Task Force, Wheeler began his career on the Monroe City police force under then-chief Mondell Sharpe in 1998. Wheeler has kept his ties with Monroe City and is currently a member of the Monroe City Council.
In expressing excitement about his win, Wheeler also conveyed his deep appreciation for all his support.
Incumbent John Albright said he was of course disappointed at his loss but was not bitter. "That’s what happens in a three-way race," he said.
Albright said his plans for the future are presently indefinite but he has no plans to move from the community right away.
"I will look at all my options, weigh them and then do what I think is best for me and my family," he said.
Albright said he appreciated the opportunity to serve the community as well as the support he received from the residents of Monroe City.
Monroe City Mayor Neal Minor appointed Albright to the position of city marshal when the post became vacant following the resignation of Darren Freidank.
Greening, who is presently serving as a Monroe City police officer, said she has no plans to leave the department at this time. She also expressed her appreciation to all of those who supported her with their votes and words of encouragement.