Deputy chief leaving Columbia Police Department for chief job in Virginia

Monday, April 2, 2012 | 6:21 p.m. CDT; updated 7:24 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 2, 2012

COLUMBIA — Deputy Chief Stephen Monticelli is leaving his post at the Columbia Police Department after 15 months on the job and 32 years of law enforcement experience in the city.

Monticelli has accepted a position as chief of police in Harrisonburg, Va., according to a release from the Columbia department. That job was advertised Dec. 21 after the former chief announced his retirement.


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Harrisonburg has about 49,000 residents, according to the city's website, and is home to three colleges and two universities.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton appointed Monticelli as deputy chief in January 2011. Monticelli will leave Columbia after moving through the ranks of the department from officer to sergeant to captain and finally deputy chief.

A review of the Columbia Police Department conducted earlier this year cited "brain drain" as a major liability to the department. The report found that "the average age of the department is rapidly falling as officers retire or otherwise leave," which results in a serious gap in experience and training.

There is no schedule yet for filling the deputy chief's position, said Sgt. Jill Schlude, a spokeswoman for the department.

Monticelli did not return phone calls seeking comment. He begins his new job June 4.

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Derrick Fogle April 2, 2012 | 11:10 p.m.

Like rats deserting a sinking ship! I hate to see this happen; I kinda like Burton. But if I like him, that's surely bad news from inside the "walls of blue." The question is, after we're done frying Burton, are we gonna have the gumption to bring Dresner back as chief?

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