Great Bend police chief reinstated

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – The Great Bend police chief has been reinstated. The city council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to lift Cliff Couch’s suspension.

Couch was suspended in July for accusing Howard Partington, who was city administrator at the time, of “unethical and dishonest conduct.”

It was a packed house once again at the Special Events Center in Great Bend for the city council meeting.

The reinstatement of Chief Couch was the third item on the council agenda Tuesday night.

It was spearheaded by Councilman Dana Dawson, who has been a supporter of Chief Couch.

The crowd erupted in cheers and excitement when the vote was read, 4-3, in favor of reinstating the chief.

After a nearly month and a half long fight, Councilman Dawson was happy with the outcome.

“The bunch opposing him has had no date or anything put together to replace him with and so we were in bad shape not having a police chief,
so hopefully we can things back on the road and start putting things back together,” said Dawson.

Many residents, like Tara Proctor, were decked out in their Stand With Chief Couch t-shirts for the meeting.

Proctor could barely contain her excitement, knowing that the city’s police chief has his job back.

“This is very exciting, we have been working very hard to get this man reinstated, he’s just been an amazing here and we really love him,” said Proctor.

As for the three council members who voted against reinstating the chief, there was no discussion why they continue to oppose him.

Chief Couch did attend the meeting and was greeted by several residents after the meeting ended.

With a big smile on his face and his badge tucked into his belt, Chief Couch says a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

“In this day in age especially, I think you really have to measure a police department by how much a community supports them so, I can’t imagine a police chief being anymore tickled seeing a crowd like that,” said Chief Couch.

Chief Couch says he is headed back to work immediately and will return for his first full day of work on Wednesday.

The council also voted unanimously Tuesday night to investigate and audit several city departments, going back five to ten years.

This includes the city administrators office, police department and street department.

Councilman Dawson is hoping that auditors can start on that as soon as possible.

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