Council Approves Hire of New West Plains Police Chief; Interim Planning Department Manager Appointed

The West Plains City Council approved the hire of native Missourian Stephen Monticelli as the new Chief of Police and the selection of Will Atkinson as the interim Planning Manager during a special closed session meeting Thursday afternoon. Council voted 4-0 in favor of both selections, with Councilman Cary Stewart absent for the voting.

Monticelli, a 37-year law enforcement veteran, was most recently the Chief of Police in Harrisonburg, Virginia, which has a population of 54,000.  As the Chief of Police, Monticelli oversaw a staff of 112 officers, 20 auxiliary officers, and 26 civilian personnel in one of the fastest growing cities within the Virginia Commonwealth.

Prior to taking that position in 2012, Monticelli spent 32 years in law enforcement in Columbia, Mo., having built an impressive and wide-ranging career. In Columbia, Monticelli held the titles of Major Crimes Unit Supervisor, Investigative Commander, and Patrol Commander before rising to the rank of Deputy Chief of Police.

Monticelli, who is originally from St. Louis, has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master’s Degree from William Woods University. He and his wife have four adult children and three grandchildren, some of which reside in St. Louis.

Monticelli is humbled to be selected as the new West Plains Chief of Police. “It has been my honor to serve with some of the finest teams in law enforcement and I cherish the opportunity to join your hometown public safety team,” said Monticelli, who describes his leadership style as one that “builds strong partnerships that bridges trust and transparency in the community. We want to make West Plains a better place to live, work, play and learn.”

Atkinson has served as an Information Systems Administrator for the City of West Plains since 2016, which includes serving on the City’s management team to shape and direct Information Technology policies to ensure security, redundancy and efficiency. Previously Atkinson worked as a Traffic Systems Data Analyst for Leidos, Information Technology Applications Analyst for Ozarks Medical Center, and spent nine years as a Transportation Planner for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Atkinson’s experience as a Planner for the State of Missouri will be helpful in transitioning the current City of West Plains’ Engineering Department into a Planning Department. In his new role, Atkinson and his staff will focus on data management, data analytics and data utilization, and provide technical guidance on GIS and asset management. The department will also focus on coordinating City-wide project schedules, tracking project performance, and the creation of online mapping.

Atkinson has a Bachelor’s Degree from Missouri State University. He and his wife, Jennifer, have one daughter.

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