City Manager Nick Edwards announces that Police Chief Sloan Rowland will retire on June 1, 2023, from the Joplin Police Department, following a 35-year career in various public safety positions. Rowland has served the Joplin community for the past 20 years.
Chief Rowland started his career as an EMT working for the Cherokee County KS ambulance service. In 1987, Chief started his law enforcement career as a patrolman for Galena KS. With his strong leadership skills, he moved through the ranks to become the Police Chief for Galena in 1995. During this time, Rowland continued his military service and had several deployments. After serving Galena, in July 1999, Chief transitioned to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department where he took the lead for all drug investigations. In 2003 Rowland joined the Joplin Police Department as a Police Officer, was promoted to Corporal in 2005, to Sergeant in 2007, to Lieutenant in 2012, to Assistant Chief in 2016, and finally as Police Chief in 2019.
Edwards, who joined the City of Joplin in 2020, offers his review of Rowland’s service since that time.
“Chief Rowland has done an exceptional job serving this community. He was the right person to serve during some of the most challenging times in law enforcement and within our own community. Chief modeled for us the way to be proactive in improving the organization while also establishing a solid team with a great culture. He led his department through the COVID years when there was no real playbook as to how to deliver service during a pandemic. Nationally, as views and opinions of law enforcement were reevaluated, the Chief worked to keep positive relationships throughout the community by meeting with anyone who had time, to ensure that they knew JPD operated according to best practices.”
Edwards noted that Rowland was also instrumental in leading the immediate response to our cyber-attack and other significant moments in recent years.
“Chief led us through heartbreak and grief despite having his own when we lost Corporal Cooper and Officer Reed. He helped navigate us to having the City’s first collective bargaining agreement and has worked tirelessly in efforts to improve pay and staffing for the Police Department. As Chief, and with Council’s leadership and support, together we were able to improve Police Department pay by nearly 25% over the last four years and also address some staffing levels through action plans and proposition action. Personally, I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside Chief Rowland and will always admire his leadership. Professionally, I can say that he improved the organization and Police Department, and want to thank him for his service. Chief Rowland’s career and resume demonstrate his professionalism, dedication, and desire to serve. Becoming a Police Chief, and serving as a Police Chief, is only possible if one has a heart for service.”
Following Chief Rowland’s retirement, Assistant Chief Brian Lewis will serve as interim Police Chief and the City will initiate a search process to fill the position on a permanent basis.