INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The city of Independence has announced its next police chief.

City leaders decided Interim Chief Adam Dustman should officially take over the responsibility. He was appointed as interim chief in February 2022.

Dustman has served with the Independence Police Department for 14 years. He will transition to chief of police on Monday, Aug. 8.  

“I am honored to accept this position and continue to lead in the capacity I’ve been on a permanent basis,” Dustman said.

Dustman is a graduate of Central Missouri State University, now University of Central Missouri, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and was Summa Cum Laude. He will be relocating to the city of Independence with his wife, and two children.  

“I am honored to be given this opportunity and look forward to the future of this department,”  Chief Dustman said.

“Independence is a tremendous community which has long-supported its Police. There are changes to be made and challenges to address but I am confident that we will continue to serve our city to the best of our ability.” 

Former Chief Brad Halsey retired in December.

Dustman will face the continuing fallout months after a special counsel began investigating how overtime was spent at the Independence, Missouri, Police Department under Halsey’s leadership.

“I have the knowledge of the challenges that face the unique challenges that both our department and our community, but I also have a fresh perspective,” Dustman said.

He said by far recruiting new officers is the top priority, for a department that is down more than 50 positions total.

Dustman said he’s already implemented changes that include banning officers from doing construction work and improving the way overtime is tracked.

“I am accountable for what happens in this police department, and I was accountable from the day I took office as interim chief,” Dustman said.

Ultimately, the special counsel couldn’t determine whether the police officers actually worked the hours they clocked because the overtime system in Independence is an honor system.

Dustman was selected over two other finalists: Bryce Johnson, current chief of the Idaho Falls Police Department, and Independence Police Department’s Deputy Chief Ken Jarnagin.

City Manager Zach Walker, who has come under fire for his role in the overtime investigation, says he pulled in stakeholders from the city council to business leaders and he says there’s one thing in the new chief that stands out.

‘”Communication that is the trait I saw and what I continue to hear from members of his department,” Walker said.

Walker wouldn’t elaborate on who should be held accountable but sys that this is a new day for the city.

“This represents our step forward to addressing a lot of issues,” Walker said.

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