Public Invited to Welcoming Reception for Joplin Police Chief Candidates

(Joplin, MO) – Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards invites the public to join in a Welcoming Reception to meet the candidates for the Joplin Police Chief position. The reception will be held from 5:30 pm. to 6:30 pm. on Tuesday, August 22 in the Council Chambers of Joplin City Hall, 602 South Main. There will be a brief introduction of the candidates at approximately 5:30 pm.

After 20 years of service to the City of Joplin, Chief Sloan Rowland retired from the Joplin Police Department on June 1, 2023. The City conducted a national search with the assistance of Strategic Government Resources. Joplin officials have invited four finalists for interviews and a community visit.

Candidates and a brief bio of their work in law enforcement are listed below.

Richard Pearson is currently a Captain with the Jefferson County Public School System Police Department. He has held this position since August 2022. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Professor in the Criminal Justice Department in Sellersburg, Indiana from January of 2015 – May 2022. He also served with the Louisville Metro Police Department from 1993 – 2015, beginning as a Patrol Office and rising to the rank of Police Lieutenant. Other positions held include Patrol Sergeant, Patrol Sector Lieutenant, Street Operations Lieutenant, Commander of the Clandestine Meth Lab Response Team, and Patrol Commander.

Richard holds a Bachelor’s degree in justice administration and a master’s in justice administration, both from the University of Louisville and is working on his doctorate in Criminal Justice. He is also a 2006 graduate of the FBI National Police Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and a 2001 graduate of the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville.

Philip Lukens is currently Chief of Police for Alliance, Nebraska, where he has been since 2020. He also served with the City of Louisville Police Department in the capacities of Corporal, Sergeant, and Acting Operations Commander from 2016 – 2019, and the Town of Erie, Colorado as a Patrol Officer and Corporal from 2003 – 2016.

Philip holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and has completed coursework toward a master’s degree, also in criminal justice.  He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Command Institute at Northwestern University, the Senior Management Institute for Police, the Supervisor Institute at FBI LEEDA, and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Chiefs Association of Nebraska.

Jeffrey Lofton is currently the Chief of Police for Clever, Missouri, a position he has held since 2019. He has also served with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office as a Patrol Division Commander from 2015 – 2019 and Patrol Officer from 2010 – 2014, the Ozark Police Department as a Patrol Officer from 2014 – 2015, the Branson West PD and the Indian Point PD from 2009 – 2010 as a Patrol Officer.

Jeffrey holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Culver Stockton College and a master’s in criminal justice administration and Sociology from Lincoln University. He has completed multiple FBI-LEEDA Executive, Command, and Supervisor Institutes and is a member of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association and the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Brian Lewis is currently the Interim Chief of Police for Joplin. He has served as Assistant Police Chief from 2020 – 2023 (and 2014-2015). He has also served as an Investigator/Victim Advocate for Jasper County from 2015 – 2020. He began his career with Joplin as a Patrol Officer and held the ranks of Corporal, Sergeant, and Lieutenant from 1994 – 2014. He has won multiple departmental awards and also led the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies(CALEA) accreditation process for the department.

Brian holds Bachelors’ degrees in Sociology and Spanish, and a Master’s in Business Administration, all from Pittsburg State University.

Following Management Team, Community Stakeholder, and Employee panel interviews on Wednesday, August 23, each candidate will be interviewed by the City Manager and a hiring decision will be made soon thereafter.


Lynn Iliff Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204

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