GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – Great Bend Police Chief Cliff Couch announced he is resigning Thursday, just over a week after he was reinstated as chief. his resignation will take effect October 15.
KSN spoke with Couch Thursday and he said even after being reinstated he felt like he had a target on his back. He felt that controversy was only going to continue so he decided it was time for him to leave his post.
For those who supported Couch the news comes as bittersweet.
“I think it is unfortunate that Chief Couch is not going to be able to stay here in Great Bend. I think it is a loss to the community,” said Great Bend resident Donald Hawes.
“To say that I am disappointed that is an understatement,” added Dana Dawson, Great Bend council member.
Great Bend Police Chief Cliff Couch said he is disappointed too.
“You know, I am disappointed too,” Couch explained. “But I feel like this is really the only rational decision at this point.”
Chief Couch, who has become somewhat of a symbol around Great Bend, said since being reinstated it’s been far from business as usual. He said the political backlash has continued and now he worries it could become a distraction from his duties as the city’s top cop.
Council member Dana Dawson was perhaps Couch’s biggest supporter, leading several meetings to get the chief his job back. Dawson said he doesn’t want the community to lose hope. If anything he said all of this has shown just how powerful it is when a city comes together.
“I think it has shown that they can make a difference and will if they keep up the work and keep up the fight until we get what we want,” said Dawson.
“It sounds like he has had an offer, an offer that would lead to some better opportunities for him and some transparency in the community going forward so perhaps these allegations can be addressed,” added Dawson.
One of the priorities Couch and Dawson were adamant about achieving was having an audit into the city. Dawson said even though Couch is leaving, that audit will happen.
Now the search is on for a new police chief in Great Bend.