Richard Pearson Sworn in as Joplin’s Police Chief

(Joplin, MO)City of Joplin officials, Joplin police staff, City employees, and community members welcomed Rich Pearson as Joplin’s new Police Chief on December 20. Pearson was sworn in to serve in his new role by City Clerk Holly Nagy.  

Pearson recently served as Captain of the Jefferson County Public School System Police Department in Louisville, Kentucky. 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 recently received his Doctorate in Criminal Justice at Saint Leo University in St. Leo, Florida.

Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards welcomes Chief Pearson to the City.

“Chief Pearson’s experience in public safety is a strong quality along with his leadership skills,” said Edwards. “He has served in various roles, and his knowledge and issue management provides a solid foundation to address issues in our community while also improving our Police Department’s delivery of services.”

Pearson is looking forward to getting acquainted with Joplin citizens and the community as a whole.

“I’m excited to talk with citizens and listen to their ideas and input about our department,” he said. “I plan to get out in the community and meet everyone. I’d like to build relationships and start new friendships, and I am anxious to be a part of Joplin. By working together, we can continue to enjoy a safe and vibrant community.”

Pearson and his wife Gina moved to Joplin from Louisville recently.

Edwards also noted his appreciation for Assistant Chief Brian Lewis, who served as the Interim Chief. “I’d like to recognize Brian Lewis for his service as interim Chief.  Serving in an interim role is difficult.  As interim, the job is to maintain services and lead in a way that makes a transition easy.  Brian did exactly that, which shows his love for the department and community. Brian and his team were able to start a conversion to a new CAD/RMS system, organize bridge dedications for our fallen heroes, and complete a budget.  Chief Pearson will certainly have a good head start on his work here in Joplin.”


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

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