Presented Shield Award

Lt. Andrew Parker with the Union Police Department, center, was presented the Shield Award for First Responders at the Union Area Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Awards banquet Saturday, Feb. 3. With him, from left, are his wife Tracy Parker and Mike Joyce, the 2016 award recipient. Missourian Photo.

Lt. Andrew Parker will take over as the new chief of the Union Police Department Saturday.

Current Police Chief Norm Brune announced Feb. 28 he was retiring effective March 15 after 43 years with the city. When Brune steps down, Parker will take his place.

The decision was made Monday night by the Union Board of Aldermen. City Administrator Russell Rost said after an executive session to discuss the job, the board agreed to promote Parker.

Additionally Sgt. Rick Neace will be promoted to captain and serve as the assistant police chief. The assistant chief is appointed by the city administrator.

The shuffling of the leadership comes after departure of three veteran officers from the department.

In addition to Brune, former Capt. Kyle Kitcher and Lt. John Biser are no longer being city employees as of March 1. The city has not commented on the departures of Biser and Kitcher citing personnel laws. 

Kitcher had been with the department since 1990 while Biser started in 2000.

Rost said the city made permanent appointments because of the quality of the candidates.  

“Both of these individuals earned their roles,” he said.

Rost said Parker has been with the city almost 35 years. He has supervised and managed the road department and was recommended by Brune to be his replacement. 

“He has shown exceptional leadership skills,” Rost said about Parker.

Parker also is highly respected by his fellow officers, Rost said. 

Neace, who has spent more than 20 years with the city, has been a school resource officer since 2015. He had been assigned to Central Elementary.

Rost said Neace would be leaving that post and starting as assistant police chief immediately. He said the department would seek to replace Neace as SRO at a later date.

Rost said he chose Neace for the assistant chief spot because of his background. He said Neace has shown excellent skills as a supervisor, is a willing mentor and a noted leader in the department.

The ascension of Parker and Neace means the department no longer has any lieutenants. Following the two new promotions, the highest ranking officers under them are sergeants. 

Rost said the sergeants will be leaned on heavily to help fill gaps until additional officers can be hired. 

Losing Brune, Kitcher and Biser means the department has three openings. Rost said the city has not decided how to replace the officers. 

It’s possible more promotions will be forthcoming and the city will hire three new patrol officers. Or the city could hire outside management staff.

Rost said he wants Parker and Neace to get a feel for the job and then report back and how they think the gaps should be filled.