West Liberty police chief resigns

City struggling to fill key posts


Deciding to make a career change, West Liberty’s Chief of Police Jeremy Burdess will be leaving the city position as of Wednesday, Nov. 25, after just less than eight months of serving the community.

Burdess said he is pursuing a career in the insurance industry as he leaves his first position as a Chief of Police after coming to the city on April 6 as a deputy sheriff and investigator for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department in Newton.

Chosen from among 34 candidates, Burdess replaced former chief Kary Kinmonth, who retired “due to a medical issue” according to city officials, temporarily replaced by long time officer, Sgt. David Lira, who remains a member of the small force.

“In the best interest of me and my family I have resigned my position as Chief of Police for the West Liberty Police Department, “Burdess said in a statement to the Index. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve this community and I appreciate the city giving me such an opportunity. I wish the city nothing but the best in the future.”

Burdess was working on starting new programs in the community, having officers trained for A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) instruction for the violent intruder response program as well as the youth D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistence Education) program which he had hoped to implement this year in West Liberty schools although put to the back burner because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Burdess, who is a native of Colfax, had previously been involved in both of those programs in Jasper County.

The city will begin their search for a new chief of police as soon as possible after getting the chief’s letter of resignation on Nov. 16. City council committee members Robert Rock and Joze Zachariaswill meet with other city officials to discuss a plan to replace the chief.

Burdess is part of a string of community and city leaders who have left the community in the past year for various reasons, beginning with city administrator Lawrence McNaul, who took a county administrative position in Florida, along with head librarian Deb Lowman who took a position with the Eastern Iowa Community College District and was replaced by Allie Paarsmith. City Clerk Lee Geertz was appointed an interim city manager before the city hired Elizabeth Hansen as the interim city manager earlier this summer, moving Geertz back to her clerk position.

WeLead, the economic development arm of the city, has also seen new faces in the past year, N.J. Garton leaving in March before being replaced by Rustin Lippicott, who left after several weeks, and then replaced Nov. 13 by Joseph Taylor after the organization went several months without a director.