Not quite four years into his tenure, Ozark Police Chief Tim Clothier resigned his post. When expounding on his resignation letter to the mayor and board of aldermen May 6, Clothier effusively praised the city. In turn, the city loved him back.
“I have loved my time here in Ozark, “ Clothier said. “However, as each of you know, I have submitted my letter of resignation effective a week from Friday due to accepting another police chief position in Missouri.
“You are undoubtedly…the most cohesive city commission since I’ve been here. It has been a true blessing and honor to serve you and this town.”
Clothier went on to praise City Administrator Steve Childers, other city staffers and the quality of officers in the department.
“When I came on board there was only one officer with a master’s degree,” he said. “Now we have five officers with a master’s degree. We have an exceptional force.”
In 2015, the Ozark Police Department faced turmoil. Longtime chief Lyle Hodges resigned that June just weeks after he was reprimanded following the release of what became known as the Merritt Report.
Ozark hired an interim chief, and then on Sept. 14, 2015, the board of aldermen hired a new police chief — Clothier, who was a major with the police department in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Soon, the department went from what some longtime Ozark officers said simply existed to having a purpose.
Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Posten acknowledged Clothier’s leadership.
“I think your are one of those guys no matter where you go you leave the department better than you found it,” Posten said. “You could see (the change) in the department—that attitude—was completely changed.”
Mayor Rick Gardner concurred.
“You left it incredibly better—certified,” Gardner said. “ That kind of leadership comes from the top. “
Almost as soon as Clothier took the reins, he guided the department toward accreditation. According to information from previous reports, less than 4 percent of Missouri police departments are accredited through the Missouri Police Chiefs Association. The Ozark department achieved that goal in early 2018.
“We have worked since September 2015 to ensure we were compliant with the standards,” Clothier said in a February 2018 Headliner News piece. “These standards are to ensure we are policing consistent with professional policing of the 21stCentury.”
But it wasn’t only elected officials singing Clothier’s praises; he got high marks from people in the community.
Kathy Goff, who participated in a citizens’ police academy that Clothier initiated, got emotional paying tribute to him.
“I represent the community as a whole,” Goff said. “I went through the police academy… it was very well organized. I am so proud of the city, the police department and the job that he did.”
Clothier said he couldn’t yet say where he is going, because that city government has not publicly released the information. No one on the Ozark board did hinted as to who might fill Clothier’s shoes, but Clothier made it clear that there is plenty of talent within the department, and plugged the idea of promoting from within.
“A succession plan—we worked on that from day one,” Clothier said. “We do have a succession plan and I hope you will be mindful of that.”