WYMORE – The City of Wymore has a new chief of police.
At Wednesday’s city council meeting at the Wymore Community Center, Anthony Shepardson was officially sworn in, and he’ll begin duties immediately.
Shepardson, 49, has worked for the Gage County Sheriff’s office since 2006, and was born and raised in Wymore.
When the police chief position came open a few months ago, he saw an opportunity to improve a community he’s always cared for deeply.
“I know the people are wanting somebody that they can go to,” Shepardson said, “and say, ‘this is what we’re seeing,’ and then I can work on that problem for them. So, my goal is to be very approachable.”
Shepardson succeeds Jay Welch, who went on to become Ord’s chief of police after three years in Wymore. Wymore’s police department is small, with two full-time officers and five part-time.
Shepardson says the department is still looking to hire a full-time night shift officer. Wymore is home to just under 1,400 people.
Cities and towns that size, in some cases, are seeing their police departments being absorbed by county law enforcement. The most recent and geographically close example is Fairbury, which saw its city PD get absorbed by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office, beginning Jan. 1.
While Fairbury has six, 24/7 dedicated deputies covering the town, Shepardson said it’s important for small towns like Wymore, in big counties like Gage, to have city police officers.
“When working for the sheriff’s office, we worked the small towns in Gage County,” Shepardson said. “They don’t get the service, because of the amount of area the sheriff’s office has to cover. They don’t get the personal service that a police department would give them.
“It’s the presence of local law enforcement that kind of keeps the people in check.”
Shepardson will be paid a salary of $54,000, which is less than what he was paid at the Gage County Sheriff’s Office.
“I applied for this position, because I care,” Shepardson said. “I knew I was going to be losing money, I’m at a position where I can absorb that loss and I’m okay with that. It’s what’s best for the community.”
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