Three candidates are vying to be Pacific’s next chief of police and city marshal following the retirement of Matt Mansell this past June. Assistant Chief Don Locke has been serving as the department’s interim captain.
The three candidates are: Andrew Whitman, 44, Scott Melies, 63, and Gregory Hurst, 62.
Whitman, a patrol sergeant who has been with the department since April 1998, graduated from the Missouri Law Enforcement Training Academy the same year.
Whitman has been credited with the creation of the department’s canine program and has received two officer of the year awards, the first in 2009 by The Missourian and the second in 2011 by the Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Whitman said he decided to run because he wants to “better the community.” If elected, he pledged to focus on the city’s youth.
His other goals include ensuring officer safety and quashing “some of the criminal aspects” the department has seen in Pacific, like drugs.
Melies is captain with the St. Louis County Police Department. He serves as the commander of the West County Precinct. He graduated from the Greater St. Louis Police Academy in 1980. He has an associate’s degree from North Harris County College and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Tarkio College.
During his 37 years in law enforcement, Melies has worked patrol, tactical operations and in the city of Valley Park. He has received four chief’s commendations, six awards for excellence and the John J. McAtee Police Recognition Award.
Although employed outside of the county, Melies said he is no stranger to Pacific and has worked with several area first responder agencies.
“I am not interested in bringing what St. Louis County has to Pacific,” he said. “I’m interested in bringing my experience, my skills, my training, my education to Pacific, and using it for what’s best for Pacific and how Pacific best wants to use that.”
Melies said, if elected, he would like to continue the work the department has done to reduce crime, but he has ideas to improve the department.
“It has to be a balance of technology and good old-fashioned police work,” Melies said, adding he would like to update the department’s radios and body cameras.
A member of St. Bridget Catholic Church, Melies also is involved with the Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the Pacific Partnership.
Gregory Hurst has been a reserve officer with the Pacific Police Department since his retirement from the Chesterfield Police Department in 2010. A graduate of St. Louis Municipal Police Department in 1990, Hurst was a firearms instructor, helped launch the Citizen’s Police Academy and led crime scene investigation work with Chesterfield.
Hurst also currently volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America.
“I think I could do some positive things here coming from a larger department,” Hurst said. “We had more technology and different things that I would like to help implement here” to help with officer safety and efficiency.
“We have had a lot of turnover,” Hurst said. “I want to help retain the talent we do attract.”