Saturday, November 01, 2014

Wellsville police chief leaves for job with KBI

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 1/27/2014

WELLSVILLE — A veteran officer with 38 years of law enforcement experience likely will be taking the reins of the Wellsville Police Department as the city searches for a new police chief.

The city’s employee relations committee is expected to recommend at the city council’s meeting Wednesday night that Sgt. John Blair serve as interim police chief until a new chief can be appointed by the city council to succeed Steve Gillespie, Bill Lytle, Wellsville mayor, said Monday. The council would have to vote to approve Blair as the interim chief.

WELLSVILLE — A veteran officer with 38 years of law enforcement experience likely will be taking the reins of the Wellsville Police Department as the city searches for a new police chief.

The city’s employee relations committee is expected to recommend at the city council’s meeting Wednesday night that Sgt. John Blair serve as interim police chief until a new chief can be appointed by the city council to succeed Steve Gillespie, Bill Lytle, Wellsville mayor, said Monday. The council would have to vote to approve Blair as the interim chief.

Gillespie, who had spent eight years with the Wellsville department, has accepted a position with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and is to be based at the agency’s Overland Park office, officials with the city and police department confirmed Monday. A KBI spokesman and Gillespie could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon. Gillespie’s last day as police chief was Friday.

Blair, a four-year member of the Wellsville department, is no stranger to law enforcement, having retired as a sergeant with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office after 22 years with that agency before joining the Wellsville force. Before going to Johnson County, Blair served as a deputy with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years, he said.

Blair would be interested in serving as the community’s next police chief, he said.

“... I have expressed my interest in the position,” Blair said. “But that will be entirely up to the city council and the mayor to decide.”

The council has not set a timetable for filling the position, Lytle said.

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