For the record: council member resigns, chief of police named

Maplewood city council member, Shana Jones announced on Facebook, Sept. 23, that she was stepping down from the council.

As of today. I have step down as a Councilwoman of Ward 1 in Maplewood. Even though I don’t have the title of Councilwoman it want stop me from Serving my community as I been doing for the last 10 years.

I am still Shana.. I am not going no where…I am still doing what God want and need me to do. Keep Pushing, Inc is growing and I am focusing on building a nonprofit that is very active in the community. We will be opening our second office in Maplewood in November and I am very excited about that. God is so Good.

I love my community and I want to be able to serve you at 100% [heart emoji] For everyone who voted for me..Thank You..I will continue to be a Positive Leader in Ward 1.

Jones explained her reason further to 40 South. She said she has heard the comments about other possible reasons, but that anything in her past has nothing to do with her resignation.

In light of the state of our city and our communities at large the work that I’m seeking to do I just believe to be necessary. The people in our communities are hurting, suffering both loud and in silence. As neighbors we have to care, it has to matter! It has to matter enough for us to be called to action and respond. That’s all I’m trying to do. Having known hard times and seen both the worst and the best of it I desire to see all of our neighbors secure in all ways. The victory in the City of Maplewood was amazing and I’m grateful to both my colleagues and the great citizens of Maplewood for choosing me to be a voice of progress for them. After much reflection I did realize that the calling God has placed on my life to do this type of work was bigger than one neighborhood. It’s meant to be given in love to as many neighborhoods as I possibly can.

After much consideration, wise counsel and deep prayer I became more resolute in the desire to take this mission further and see just how many more communities and neighbors we can help. Unfortunately I couldn’t do both. I love Maplewood and all of my neighbors but I love all of our neighbors equally and desire to hep as many of them as possible achieve stability, self-sufficiency and above all else, peace and joy…

Per city ordinance, Jones’ vacancy will be filled by special election, on February 7, 2023.

On Oct. 12 the city of Maplewood announced that Acting Police Chief Matthew Nighbor has been named Police Chief. Following is the press release:

Maplewood, MO (October 12, 2022) – Matthew Nighbor has been appointed as Police Chief after serving as Acting Police Chief since April 2021. Nighbor was serving as the Acting Police Chief following the retirement of Stephen Kruse in April of 2021. He will oversee the Police Department’s $4,919,000 budget and 34 employees.

City Manager Michael Reese stated “During Matt’s tenure as Acting Chief, I have closely observed him perform his duties at a high level and with an eye toward change in the department. The last five months have been very busy in our city and he has shown outstanding leadership. Matt’s commitment to the community and the officers has been extraordinary.”

Nighbor entered the law enforcement profession in 1998 and has worked for the City of Maplewood Police Department for 20 years. Nighbor has served in various leadership positions throughout his tenure in law enforcement including Deputy Commander of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis. Nighbor holds a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration through Lindenwood University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice through the University of Missouri St. Louis.

In his most recent position as Acting Police Chief, Nighbor was responsible for the planning, overseeing, and directing of the department’s daily operations.

Matt Nighbor has distinguished himself by accomplishing the following during his tenure as the Acting Police Chief since April 2021:

  • In response to community feedback and council input, along with the results of the resident/business surveys, Nighbor re-envisioned the police department’s organizational structure. The reorganization of the police department enhanced community policing by adding another Community Resource Officer to the team which now consists of three officers in this specialized unit. Also, a change to the command structure increased accountability within the department which better serves the needs of the community.
  • As part of the police department’s focus on health and wellness, Nighbor established a Walking Wednesday Program wherein several police officers walk throughout the community every Wednesday. These types of officer health and wellness programs are important for the betterment of the police department and also allows the department to personally meet with community members.
  • Nighbor and his team also created and initiated the Police Building Bridges Program. The mission of this program is to collaborate with members of the community and to customize the police response to meet the specific needs of an individual experiencing a mental health crisis. Police Building Bridges is an innovative strategy that serves as an extension of the efforts of the Maplewood Police Department Crisis Intervention Team.
  • Nighbor has been dedicated to community engagement over the last 18 months.  This includes active participation and coordination with Regional Night Out and the numerous community events hosted by the City of Maplewood, working with the unhoused and connecting them with services and resources, frequently meeting with community members and stakeholders in addressing social issues, and service as an ex officio member on the Human Services Commission.
  • The Maplewood Police Department received its re-accreditation (3rd Award) through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).  Accreditation was awarded after a rigorous review of the agency’s policies and practices to ensure compliance. The goals of CALEA are to strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities; formalize essential management procedures; establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices; improve service delivery; solidify interagency cooperation and coordination; and increase community and staff confidence in the agency.

“Chief Nighbor is committed to a modern police department comprised of a 21st-century training program; a grassroots community policing strategy; a dynamic community outreach effort; a forward-looking diversity, equity, and inclusion practice; and a unique vision for the City of Maplewood. He is the right police chief and leader for the future of the Maplewood Police Department and the community,“ said City Manager Michael Reese.

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