Ashland Police Chief Lyn Woolford has been placed on paid administrative leave, but city officials are mum as to why, citing the decision as a "personnel matter."
In a news release issues Tuesday, City Administrator Tony St. Romaine was quoted as saying more information will be provided after the matter has been reviewed.
"The city cannot disclose specific personnel actions toward employee’s," St. Romaine said in the release."We will provide additional information and details once this matter has been thoroughly reviewed."
In the meantime, the city’s Deputy Chief Terry Toalson will serve as interim chief.
Ashland Mayor Gene Rhorer did not return a call seeking comment.
Woolford has served as chief since 2013 and prior to that was an officer for the Columbia Police Department. Prior to the hiring of St. Romaine, from 2015 to August of 2019, Woolford took on dual roles as the chief and city administrator.
In February 2019, he was honored as America’s Favorite Crossing Guard by Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit focused on preventing accidental injuries to children. Known for the funny hats he wore while performing crossing guard duties, the award gave $10,000 to Ashland schools.
If the city seeks to remove Woolford at some point, under Missouri law he will be entitled to job protections that would include a hearing and vote by the Ashland Board of Aldermen. Under a law passed by the General Assembly in 2013, the city will have to issue specific reasons and give Woolford or his attorney a chance to speak on his behalf, call witnesses and review evidence.
Attorney Matt Uhrig, who is representing Woolford, declined comment in-depth in an email, but wrote that the reasons for suspension are not criminal in nature.
The Board of Aldermen is expected to formally appoint Toalson as interim chief at the 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting.