The public and Great Bend City Council had a chance to meet and talk with the final candidate for the position of Great Bend Chief of Police Thursday evening. An informal come and go reception was held at the city offices.
Cliff Couch, currently the Goodland Chief of Police, is the choice of the selection committee, said City Administrator Howard Partington. He’s been wearing the additional hat of interim chief of police since Dean Akings retired in late 2014.
“Cliff has the background we need to push toward our goals of making Great Bend the safest and most drug-free community we can be,” he said.
Couch grew up in Tallahassee, Fla., and achieved a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in law enforcement. He began his career with the Leon County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department, later serving four years with the Marines as a military police officer. He worked both as a narcotics detective and in a violent crimes unit.
When his commitment ended he moved to Goodland, and in 2011 became chief of police there, commanding a nine-man force.
Drug activity, safety, and diversity were issues citizens and council members alike raised questions about. During his time in Florida, he gained considerable experience dealing with drug trafficking, Couch said. In Goodland, that experience has been ongoing, not only with methamphetamine production and trafficking, but also marijuana. Goodland is considered a border town with neighboring Colorado, where recreational marijuana use was legalized in 2014.
Partington said if all works out, Couch could become Great Bend’s new chief as early as April. First, he needs to be appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council. That could happen as early as the March 2 meeting.
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