CENTRALIA — The Centralia Board of Aldermen selected Nat Stoebe to serve as interim police chief.
The move comes after Police Chief Bob Bias resigned effective Sunday. Three more officers have also resigned.
The board also approved a third party legal counsel to look into “impropriety” within the city’s administration.
The Board of Aldermen went into a closed meeting just after 5:30 p.m. and returned at around 6:40 p.m. to a large audience. The meeting lasted until 7:45 p.m. with multiple Centralia residents voicing their concerns on the lack of transparency between the board and residents.
“What I would like is some accountability and transparency,” one concerned Centralia citizen said.
During the public comment, Bias said he had been asked for his resignation Sept. 23 and submitted it Sept. 24. He said he was told the leadership of the police department was “not going the way it should have.”
“I know not what tomorrow holds, but I know for sure who holds tomorrow, and it’s not any of the people in this room,” Bias said.
Three other officers resigned between Oct. 4-8. No specific reason was given for the resignations.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is providing support to provide “full coverage,” according to previous reporting.
Boone County Sheriff Captain Brian Leer asked Centralia residents to have patience in the meantime but said Boone County deputies will “get there as soon as we can and do what we can to help out,” according to previous KOMU reporting.
The Centralia Police Department had six full time officers Friday, but one had put in a two-weeks notice, at which point the department will be down to five. A full police force would be nine officers and one chief, Centralia City Administrator Heather Russell told KOMU last week.
Centralia residents have held protests asking for more transparency within the police department.
Residents say they were surprised at the resignation.
The search for a permanent police chief has already begun and will continue through Nov. 3 or until the position is filled permanently.
The meeting left the residents of Centralia with more questions than answers about what their city’s government will do to bring transparency and information to the situation.