Ashland police shorthanded after officer arrested

The Ashland Police Department is in a bit of a bind. Just days after one officer quit to take a job out of state, a second officer, Scott Wilson, got picked up for driving drunk.

"Do I feel burned? Ya know, I'm not gonna sit here and say I'm not upset, Ashland Police Chief Anthony Consiglio said.

Consiglio took a chance on Wilson, who, when he was hired in June, had disclosed a conviction for drunk driving eight years ago.

"He didn't hide anything, Consiglio said. He had a recommendation from the higher levels at the law enforcement academy at the University of Missouri.

In July, the state revoked officer Wilson TMs driver's license for an accident he had prior to joining the Ashland Police Department. He did not tell the city about that

Consiglio said he'll spend less time at his desk and more on the street to help his officers pick up the slack..

City Administrator Chris Heard said the standards for hiring road officers are Ashland is high. There's a written test and a background check. Beyond that, there's an awareness that most of the 3500 people who live in Ashland work in Columbia or Jefferson City.

"The level of service that they anticipate is exactly what they see eight hours a day when they're at work, Heard said.

Heard said he has several applicants already on file.

He hopes to have one or more new officers hired within 30 days.

City officials here might now have second thoughts about giving second changes. The more immediate challenge is a holiday season with only four cops instead of six.

"We want the community to know that they're receiving the same amount of service and coverage that they were prior, Heard said.

In the meantime, the city will rely on the sheriff's department and volunteer reserve officers to fill any gaps in service.