CENTRALIA — Friday is the last day on the job for Centralia Police Chief Brian Atchison, as he leaves for a position in the newly created Kaskaskia College Police Department. His departure leaves the already sparsely covered Centralia department with just 18 officers to cover Centralia’s streets.
Three additional officers must still successfully complete their police academy training before undergoing 12-weeks of field training with Centralia police officers. If they successfully complete their training, they will be able to patrol the streets alone in February.
In a September 18, 2019, press release from City Manager Dan Ramey announcing Atchison’s retirement, Ramey said the police department consists of “24 Sworn Full Time officers including the Police Chief.”
Atchison’s departure Friday will leave 12 patrol officers, five sergeants and one of two lieutenants to cover Centralia as one lieutenant is on light duty.
Of those 12 patrol officers, two also serve as investigators and one also serves as the school resource officer. Even with the addition of the three officers in training and the eventual hiring of a new police chief, the current roster falls short of the 24 the administration claimed last month.