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Protest Held in Centralia Over Resignation of Local Police Chief

The resignation of Centralia's police chief has left residents worried about the future of the department.

Centralia resident Michael Bardwell said he was shocked when news came out that police chief Bob Bias was resigning.

"This hit everyone out of left field," Bardwell said. "This wasn't something that everybody knew."

Bardwell was among a group of citizens in Centralia that was protesting the resignation of Bias. The protest took place outside city hall in Centralia at noon Monday.

Bias is scheduled to resign Oct. 10. No clear reason was given, just that it was a personal matter.

Residents at the protest were positive about his tenure as police chief in Centralia.

"He was one of the best," Bardwell said, "He was well liked. He was a police officer here before he went to be chief of police in Hallsville for a short time then decided to come back."

"(Bias) was an amazing chief," said Logan Feger, a police officer in the Centralia Police Department. "I served under many administrators, and he has been probably the easiest person to work for.

"He holds his integrity very high and hold his officers to a very high standard. I believe that he honestly has a good police department."

Some residents, including Jody Roberts, are worried that Bias' resignation could affect the police force.

"(Bias' resignation) is affecting other police officers here," Roberts said. "I'm worried that we won't have any police officers left."

"They're here to serve us and keep us safe. It's our turn to keep an eye on them."

Protesters are encouraging residents to attend the city council meeting on Oct. 11 to ask questions and voice their concerns about the resignation of Bias.

KOMU reached out to Centralia city administrator Heather Russell, city hall and Bias about the protest. All three declined to comment on the matter.

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