The City of Great Bend has a new police chief and a new City Council member.
Mayor Mike Allison Monday night appointed Cliff Couch to the police chief post, an action that was finalized with the City Council’s blessing. He also named Cory Noffsinger to the council to fill out the unexpired term of Edwin Roberts who resigned his First Ward post.
The hiring of Couch and the appointment of Noffsinger to the seat came after respective interview committees unanimously recommended they be given the jobs.
“I am very, very, very excited,” said City Administrator Howard Partington of Couch. Partington has been wearing the additional hat of interim chief of police since Dean Akings retired at the end of 2014.
Couch grew up in Tallahassee, Fla., earning an associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law enforcement-related study areas. He started his law enforcement career with the Leon County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department, leaving to serve a four-year hitch in the Marines. He worked as a narcotics detective, in vice and a violent crimes unit, and was part of a Special Weapons and Tactic team.
After leaving the service, he moved to Goodland, and in 2011 became chief of police, leading a nine-man force. Over the years, he’s had special training in such areas as gangs, drug enforcement and searches/seizures.
Partington said Couch’s application was the search committee’s top pick from the start. He was one of three finalists interviewed and made the cut, returning in February for a two-day final interview and tour of the city.
He will likely start Monday, March 3.
Akings retired in December after serving in the position since 1983. His city experience includes serving the Great Bend Police Department as a patrol officer, investigator as well as chief.
As for Noffsinger, after the council’s approval, he was sworn in by City Clerk Amit Patel and took his seat at the council table.
He and his father own Great Bend Tarp and Upholstery. Moving to Great Bend in 1989 from Paradise, Noffsinger said he grew up in Great Bend, graduating from Great Bend High School in 2010.
He will only serve through the end of the unexpired term which ends in April. If he wishes to remain in office, he would have to run a write-in campaign since it is past the election filing deadline.
The council accepted Roberts’ resignation on Jan. 19. Roberts, who was not present at the meeting, had submitted a letter announcing his plans to step down due to health issues.
Roberts is retired and has worked in an oil patch-related business and law enforcement. He was a relative new comer to Great Bend when he was elected in April 2013.