New Hallsville police chief optimistic about department\'s future

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HALLSVILLE - After a month of having no full-time officers on staff, the Hallsville Board Of Alderman hired a new police chief to take over at the end of December.

The board hired Robert Bias. Bias is currently assistant chief of police for the Centralia Police Department, where he has worked for 11 years.

Bias previously lived in Hallsville for 13 years. He worked as a part-time officer in the early 2000s for about 3 years.

"It's an opportunity for me, and it's an opportunity I'm looking forward to," Bias said. "I'm kind of going back home, if you will."

Bias' hiring comes after former police chief Gabe Edwards resigned in October, due to the way a dog bite complaint was handled.

Hallsville Mayor Mickey Nichols said he hopes this hiring will regain the town's trust with the department.

"We're going to try and get back to the point where we were before with a new police chief and at least one new officer," Nichols said. "We were in the process of hiring a new officer when all of this transpired."

Nichols said he is confident Bias will be the right fit for the community.

"His [current] police chief highly recommended him for this position."The council felt that he was the best candidate. He's been in the community for years, and we felt that with his interview he was most qualified," Nichols said.

Although Bias' hiring is a step in the right direction, the town is still in need of more full-time officers.

"We don't have any full-time police coverage besides myself. Hiring those new police officers is going to be a challenge. Getting officers to come to small towns and work is difficult. We don't have the kind of pay bigger cities have to offer," Bias said.

Bias said despite the challenges the department faces ahead with trying to find more officers, he wants the community to know he will be there for them.

"They can expect a [quicker] response to whatever it is-their phone calls, their call for service of any type. I'm open to whatever they have suggestions for," he said.

Bias starts his new position with the Hallsville Police Department Dec. 27.