West Liberty welcomes new police chief

Rick Declue · Friday, June 28, 2013
Mayor Chad Thomas announced Tuesday at the council meeting that Lawrence McNaul will officially replace P.J. Brewer as West Liberty’s police chief on July 1.

Brewer retired on April 15, leaving Capt. Michael Meier temporarily in charge until the city could find a replacement.

Thomas said the decision came down to leadership experience and commitment to the city’s preferred methods of community policing.

“We wanted someone who would spend time in schools and out on the street getting to know people,” added Thomas

McNaul is a veteran of the military and has served 18 years in law enforcement. He spent 12 of those years with the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Department where he became chief deputy, prior to that he reached the rank of sergeant at the Grinnell Police Department.

As part of his duties with the sheriff’s department, McNaul worked in Montezuma and other communities served by the sheriff’s department. He will now oversee a force of five officers in West Liberty.

McNaul plans to relocate to West Liberty with his wife, Shannon, and their two children. Shannon has experience with community activities, having served on Grinnell’s city council.

Thomas said there were 34 applicants for the position. The mayor, City Administrator Chris Ward, City Clerk Missy Carter and City Treasure Lee Geertz served as a committee to narrow the candidates down to five finalists.

Each of the finalists were interviewed and met with members of the city council before McNaul was selected.

However, Thomas noted that the West Liberty Police Department stayed stable in terms of personnel and operations during the transition.

“We’ve had pretty good experience with the police department, and we want to keep that going,” he added.

The mayor also thanked acting police chief Meier for his efforts during the search for a new chief. He noted Meier's good work during what has been a pretty active time for the department.
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