Whether it’s playing on the swings or climbing the monkey bars, Brenda Heyen said St. John is the place she chose to raise her family.
“Well it means family. It means security,” Heyen said. “Our kids can walk around the town. They can be safe, ride bikes and even go to the new grocery store when it’s completed.”
However, Heyen said she’s worried about her children’s safety because the town is down to just one police officer.
Tuesday evening, city officials say they met in an executive session where they addressed staffing changes with the police department.
“They did ask for my resignation.” said former police chief Adam Sayler. “I tenured my resignation effective immediately last night.”
KSN asked the mayor why the chief was asked to resign. He said it was a personnel issue and couldn’t say more.
However, one council member did tell us he’s not happy with the decision.
“We are not supposed to go on council for our personal agendas,” city council president Mark Bryant said. “For anything other than that, it’s wrong. We cannot put our personal feelings into this. We have to look at what’s right for the community.”
“To my fellow city council members, you need to listen to your community,” he added. “You need to listen to the people who put you in your position because they are our bosses.”
I’m concerned for the community’s safety, Sayler said.
“The officer has a lot on his plate right now,” he said. “I’m confident he can handle it, but it’s a lot and really it’s entirely too much to put on one person.”
Heyen also said having one officer in town wants to make her move or change her kid’s school routine.
“They need to be safe,” she said. “I feel safe with them going to school here, but if we don’t have law enforcement there, I may go to homeschooling.”
But, St. John Mayor Dakota Tucker said he believes the town’s safety is not at risk.
“I had a meeting with the sheriff and the undersheriff today and we have their full support,” said Tucker. “They will make sure we’re covered, so the citizens can rest assured they’ll be taken care of.”
“Our sheriff department is very good, but Stafford County is big for little towns,” Heyen said. “They can’t cover all these areas.”
Former chief Sayler said he’s thankful he’s been able to serve the community for 14 years, and he’s currently focusing on supporting his family and finding another town to serve.
City officials said they will look to fill the three open positions, including hiring a new police chief, in the next couple of months.