COLUMBIA — After nearly eight months of searching, Haltom City, Texas, Police Chief Kenneth Burton has been chosen to lead the Columbia Police Department.
Burton's experience as a police chief made the difference in choosing him over the other finalist, Kansas City Police Major Christine Laughlin, City Manager Bill Watkins said.
"Either of the two final candidates would make a great chief," Watkins said. “But his experience as a police chief makes a difference, I think. It's a difference between being a major, which is the third level down, and being the No. 1 person."
Burton will start work the first week of April and be paid $135,000 annually, Watkins said. He has served as Haltom City police chief since 2003 and several other police departments in Texas since entering the force as an officer in Dallas in 1977.
He succeeds Police Chief Randy Boehm, who retired in July after serving nearly 32 years in the Columbia Police Department to become manager of security at MU Health Care. Boehm's salary at retirement was $100,000.