KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. – After the Kimberling City chief of police resigned in September citing a need for “change,” the rest of the officers followed, leaving the city unmanned and unprotected.
But residents of Kimberling City can now rest easy as city leaders found a replacement who hit the ground running from day one.
Former law enforcement officer and federal government worker Todd Lemoine was hired in November as the small lake town’s new chief. Lemoine told The Heartlander he retired at the end of 2021 and planned to move his family from Louisiana to Kimberling City in the summer for the friendly, tranquil community. Lemoine has family in Springfield and visited the Ozark area often over the years.
Lemoine said it was ironic how things happened, because when he retired he never planned on wearing a badge or gun again. Upon arriving in Kimberling City he realized the job was open and decided to submit his name for consideration.
The new chief has now hired four officers, a K-9 unit and a reserve officer. While they still need to fill one more position within the department, each applicant is being carefully screened and must meet the chief’s specific criteria, Lemoine said.
“Those individuals need to be a person with a degree of courage, commitment, loyalty, integrity and passion to be a police officer,” Lemoine said. “Once I get them in for an interview, I can really tell their confidence level and have already done a preliminary background (check).”
“I want to say that I have a pretty stringent hiring process, because I have reviewed well over 50 applications. I’ve only conducted eight full background investigations.”
According to Lemoine, potential officers must have the 700 hours of post-police officer training to be considered for employment. He said his new officers have been training since they were hired in January.
Thus far, the chief has made a major change to the department’s patch, police car logo, car lines and badges, along with new uniform capabilities and materials. Kimberling City residents also will be glad to hear Chief Lemoine has a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal activity of any kind.
“Zero tolerance has many different meanings, but Kimberling City Police Department’s meaning is basically committed to providing a safe environment for the people it serves to prevent illegal conduct in any form,” he said. “We’re responsible for protecting the individuals that we serve and assuring their safety and well-being.”
Lemoine outlined these steps for Kimberling City residents to help the community: be a good citizen, know the community, respect city ordinances and have integrity.
“Most importantly have integrity and do the right thing even when no one is looking,” said Lemoine.
Chief Lemoine also extended his utmost appreciation for the support he received from the community, the mayor, city administrator and local law enforcement agencies, and for making the process as smooth as possible.
“I really need to thank them because without them, I probably wouldn’t be where I am so quickly. They are giving me the opportunity to build this department in the way that I need to, for me to train officers the way they need to be trained before they go out on the streets.”
Lemoine said the department is ahead of schedule and he is very pleased with how things are going so far.