Veteran Heartland officer to take over as MO's top chief - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Veteran Heartland officer to take over as MO's top chief

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) -

There's no question protests across the country in recent months point to a growing divide between law enforcement and some members of the public.

Now, the veteran Heartland officer taking over as Missouri's top chief says the new year will be filled with policy changes and an effort to win back the public's trust.

"Right now it appears that what I've got before me is a total of about 58 bills," said Sikeston DPS Chief Drew Juden.

Chief Juden has a long list of legislation impacting departments across the Show-Me state.

"Some have to do with the incident surrounding Ferguson and the fact that the microscope is on us now," he said.

As Missouri law enforcement works to, in Juden's words, regain the public's trust, lawmakers in Jefferson City will be debating use of force, body cameras and military-grade equipment among other topics.

"There's some that are not called racial profiling anymore," Juden said. "They're using the term biased-based policing as it relates to law enforcement and use of force on minorities."

All tough issues not lost on Juden last week, as he took over as president of the Missouri Police Chief's Association.

He's only the second southeast Missouri chief to hold the position since the man who hired him, Chief Ken Francis, led the association back in 1979.

"I think the next year is going to bring some challenges, not just for law enforcement in general, but especially for the law enforcement leaders across the state," Juden said.

Juden's actually taking over a year sooner than planned.

He said it's going to take all 600-plus members of the association to take what's happened in Ferguson and St. Louis and move beyond the fear and mistrust to regain the respect that traditionally comes with the badge.

"And it's going to be up to the law enforcement leaders, the police chiefs, the sheriff's, to bring that credibility back to the public," Juden said. "The outgoing president said he was sorry he left me in this position, but I guess we're going to deal with it."

Chief Juden said with so many bills tied to law enforcement, he's concerned other measures will take a backseat. Issues like primary enforcement on seat belts, 911 funding from cell phones and an issue we've been following, Missouri's lack of a prescription drug database.

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