OSAWATOMIE — A veteran law enforcement officer with the Osawatomie Police Department has been named the department’s new police chief.
David Stuteville, the department’s current deputy chief, will begin his new duties Oct. 20, interim City Manager Mike Smith said Friday, Oct. 11. Smith announced Stuteville’s appointment at the City Council meeting the previous evening.
Stuteville will serve as chief in an acting capacity until he is sworn in at the City Council’s Oct. 24 meeting, according to a city of Osawatomie news release. In addition to being the current deputy chief, Stuteville has served in other roles with the department, including as a detective.
The change is the result of Police Chief David Ellis accepting a new position with the city as its nuisance enforcement officer. He will work closely with Building and Planning Official Ed Beaudry, Smith said.
Smith said Ellis, who has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, had been contemplating stepping down as chief and is excited about his new role.
“After speaking with the City Council, staff, and members of the public at recent City Council meetings, it was apparent that we needed to find a long-term solution to address nuisances,” Smith said in the release. “I believe that the implementation of this position has the potential to make a great, positive impact on the city and Ellis will fill it well.”
Ellis had retired in 2015 as a lieutenant with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism after 29 years of service. A former part-time officer with the Osawatomie Police Department, Ellis became deputy chief in June 2015 and chief in January 2016, according to Republic archives.
Smith said Ellis’ primary responsibilities will be to start imposing the city’s nuisance ordinances and to heavily utilize the city’s enforcement process.
“This position, coupled with our new Fix-It Form, will allow the city to prioritize issues that are major citizen concerns,” Smith said. “We will now have a more efficient way to track these issues as well as the manpower to ensure they are getting taken care of.”
In addition to his new role, Ellis will continue to serve the police department as a part-time officer, Smith said. Ellis will be sworn in as the nuisance enforcement officer Oct. 24.
Smith, current mayor of Lansing and the community’s former police chief for 20 years, said after discussions with Stuteville and Ellis he thought the move was a perfect fit for both men.
“I’m excited for both of them, and the council is fully supportive of the change,” Smith said.
Stuteville and Ellis were unavailable for comment Friday morning.
In appointing Stuteville to police chief, Smith said Stuteville understands the needs of the department currently as well as where the department needs to go in the future.
“He has demonstrated strong leadership abilities ... and his broad experience within the department, as well as his strong ties with the Osawatomie community, will help make him an effective police chief,” Smith said of Stuteville.
At Thursday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Mark Govea thanked Ellis for guiding the police department through a difficult time in 2016 and said Ellis has served the community well as the chief. Ellis told the mayor and council members he appreciated the opportunity.