The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 15, 2014

Our View: Follow Roberts’ example

— During his almost seven years in command, Joplin police Chief Lane Roberts has led his department by example.

We have observed that he expects transparency and professionalism from those under his command. He also has demonstrated that he operates the same way. That’s one of the reasons that we appreciate his administration and wish him well in his retirement. Roberts plans to leave the post on March 28.

We are in daily contact with law enforcement officials, and our goal is to gather information that our readers want and need. There is also a fair amount of that information to which the public is entitled. In fact, members of the public should at any time be able to walk up to the police desk and make a request for documents such as accident and incident reports, without question. The law has a specific list of police records and actions that are open to public scrutiny.

From the day he was hired, Roberts made it clear to us that he would be as diligent in following the open-records law as he would be in enforcing local and state laws.

He has kept that promise to the public. We recognize that has not always been easy.

Roberts, who began his career in law enforcement in 1971, came to Joplin from Oregon. His abilities as an administrator were much needed when he arrived.

We expect Roberts, as with any good leader, has a succession plan in mind. City Manager Mark Rohr, Roberts’ direct supervisor, told us that the process to find a new police chief has yet to begin.

We are eager to hear more about the future leadership of the Joplin Police Department. Roberts has set a standard of professionalism that this community deserves to see continued.

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