City of Joplin Names Richard Pearson as Joplin Police Chief

(Joplin, MO) – The City of Joplin’s City Manager Nick Edwards is pleased to announce that Rich Pearson has been named as the Chief of the Joplin Police Department.

Pearson is currently serving as Captain of the Jefferson County Public School System Police Department in Louisville, Ky. He served 22 years in the Louisville Metro Police Department and taught in the Criminal Justice Department of Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, Indiana.

He holds a Master of Science and a bachelor’s degree in justice administration from the University of Louisville. He graduated from the FBI’s National Police Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and the Southern Police Institute in Louisville. He is currently finishing his Doctorate in Criminal Justice at Saint Leo University in St. Leo, Florida.

“During his interview, it was easy to recognize that Chief Pearson has the experience addressing many of the issues that are present, or soon will be, in our community,” said Edwards. “Chief Pearson highlighted new ideas and new approaches to these issues which will help the Police Department improve service delivery. Additionally, Chief Pearson has dedicated himself to developing as a leader and attained some of the highest credentials available for law enforcement professionals.”

Pearson will start with the Joplin Police Department on January 2, 2024. He and his wife Gina will move to Joplin from Louisville in the upcoming months.

“My wife and I are excited about making Joplin our new home, and I am looking forward to meeting all my coworkers and members of the community,” said Pearson. “I’m sure that together we can continue to make Joplin a safe and wonderful place to live. I plan on meeting with all community stakeholders as soon as possible after I move to town to build relationships and start new friendships.”

Edwards also noted his deep appreciation for Assistant Chief Brian Lewis who is serving as the Interim Chief. “Brian has faithfully served this community during tragedy and difficult challenges. He is one of the most trustworthy leaders in the organization. Brian will continue to be a strength for the organization and a valuable asset for Chief Pearson. Together, this will be a strong team that, along with all the officers, will help ensure the safety of our community and improve our services for future generations.”


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

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