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Joplin Names New Police Chief

Joplin Police Chief Rich Pearson
The City of Joplin
Joplin Police Chief Rich Pearson

Pearson has graduated from the FBI’s National Police Academy in Quantico, VA, and the Southern Police Institute in Louisville. He is currently finishing his Doctorate in Criminal Justice at Saint Leo University in St. Leo, FL.

Joplin named its new police chief Thursday.

KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

In a press release Thursday City Manager Nick Edwards announced that Rich Pearson has been hired as the Chief of the Joplin Police Department.

Pearson is currently serving as Captain of the Jefferson County Public School System Police Department in Louisville, Ky.

He also served 22 years in the Louisville Metro Police Department and taught in the Criminal Justice Department of Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, IN.

Edwards said in a press release, “During his interview, it was easy to recognize that Chief Pearson has the experience addressing many of the issues that are present, or soon will be, in our community.”

Edwards also noted his deep appreciation for Joplin’s current Assistant Chief Brian Lewis who is serving as the Interim Chief and also interviewed for the position of Chief.

Pearson will start with the Joplin Police Department on December 18. Pearson and his wife will move to Joplin from Louisville in the upcoming months.

Joplin's former Police Chief Sloan Rowland retired in June after a 35-year public safety career in Missouri and Kansas.

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.

In the fall of 2023 Fred was promoted to Interim General Manager and was appointed GM in Feburary of 2024.