Sep 22, 2022

St. Joseph Police Chief Connally reflects on long career

Posted Sep 22, 2022 3:00 PM
Police Chief Chris Connally/Photo by Brent Martin
Police Chief Chris Connally/Photo by Brent Martin


St. Joseph Post

St. Joseph Police Chief Chris Connally says many trends have come and gone during his 38 years in law enforcement, but one recent trend stands out.

Connally, who retires at the end of the month, says he has never experienced the challenge he has seen in recruiting officers and has rarely seen negativity as demonstrated by the “defund the police” movement.

“There’s always been negativity towards the police,” Connally tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “We’ve never seen what seems like an organized demonization of the profession.”

Connally came to St. Joseph in 2006. Connally has been a monthly guest on the KFEQ Hotline from the beginning. He appeared on the program for the final time Wednesday. Connally retires at the end of the month.

Police Chief  Connally speaks with KFEQ Hotline host Barry Birr/Photo by Brent Martin
Police Chief  Connally speaks with KFEQ Hotline host Barry Birr/Photo by Brent Martin

Connally says trends in the news media as well as in social media have hurt the perception of law enforcement.

Connally says shifts in how news is covered make it difficult to tell the difference between straight reporting and editorializing. And while the chief believes the police department could put social media to better use, nothing replaces face-to-face communication.

“But I think, in the end, we have got to stand up on our day-to-day performance,” Connally says. “We’ve got to stand up and do the right thing for the right reasons and I think that’s something that the men and women of our department and our community have done well, because we do see that we have a lot more support than a lot of other communities.”

Aggravated assault, including domestic assault, has risen. Property crime remains a problem.

Connally says drugs can be blamed in many instances, with the nature of the drug problem shifting.

“When I got here the biggest part of the drug problem was being really, really heavy on meth,” Connally says. “We were late getting into the opioid (crisis). Opioids were hitting all over the state before it hit us, but within about a year or two then opioids hit up here really hard as well.”

Commander Dave Hart, who joined the force in 1999, will serve as the interim police chief.