Baxter Springs police chief returns to the post nearly 20 years later

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BAXTER SPRINGS, Ks. — Baxter Springs’ newest police chief says, it’s good to be back.

He’s returning to a post he held about 20 years ago.

Chief Russ Harper, Baxter Springs Police Department, said, “This is my dream job. I love the community, it’s where I’m from. I never dreamed I would have an opportunity to be back at this position.”

This isn’t his first rodeo.

Russ Harper started working at the Baxter Springs Police Department back in the 90’s.

“I was actually the chief from 99 to 2000.”

He left the department working a couple other jobs, but he always knew his heart was in the Southeast Kansas town.

“Fortunately, I work for a city now that is very supportive of law enforcement and that’s one of the reasons I was placed into this post.”

Chief Harper took over as Chief on December 16th.

He plans to start the new year off by strengthening bonds between his department and other local law enforcement agencies.

“I have a lot of strong allies. And a small department like ours, in this community, it takes those small allies working together to defeat crime.”

In addition, he wants to create stronger ties between his officers and the community.

And he knows that starts with some simple communication.

“All my officers on every shift stop and talk to different members of the community. As well as the business owners themselves. They understand that by us becoming involved in their life, helps us in the crime prevention world as well.”

Chief Harper adds he has already made progress in getting new equipment, weapons, and three new vehicles for the department.

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