Chief retires after 23 years in Ashland

Sunday, August 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:44 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Retiring Ashland Police Chief Mel Rupard has some advice for the incoming chief — come in with an open mind, get to know the people, find out what the citizens want and see what you can do to provide those services, and be fair, honest and neutral.

Rupard wrapped up his career with a reception at the Ashland Senior Center on Friday evening. Wearing his dark blue Ashland Police Department uniform, he received thanks, congratulations and well wishes. Several people who he had helped during his career came and shared stories.

“We think he’s a good guy and we hate to lose him,” said Pauline Ripeto.

A lot has changed in Ashland in the past two decades, and Rupard has been there to see and experience it all. Rupard has worked for the city police department for 23 years, 19 as chief. Throughout his career he has seen the city almost triple in size, businesses come and go and the residential area grow tremendously.

When Rupard joined the department, there were two officers who had to share what equipment they had. That number has increased to five and the officers each have their own equipment. The department has come a long way, he said.

Ashland is in the final stages of finding a new police chief. The interview process has begun, and a new chief will be selected shortly after its conclusion.

Rupard said he’s always enjoyed helping people, and that’s what he’s going to miss most. And although he’s retiring, he won’t be idle. He’s taken a less stressful and pager-free job with the Missouri State Highway Patrol as a driver examiner.

“I have been very fortunate to be able to serve this community for as many years as I have,” Rupard said. “I think most of the people have been satisfied with what I’ve done.”

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