Metro-East News

New Mascoutah police chief gets back to small-town roots

New Mascoutah Police Chief Scott Waldrup

New Mascoutah Police Chief Scott Waldrup talks about his new position on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017.
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New Mascoutah Police Chief Scott Waldrup talks about his new position on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017.

Scott Waldrup considers himself more of a “small-town guy.”

After nearly three decades with the Alton Police Department, including 13 years as the second in command, Waldrup earlier this week started as the new police chief in Mascoutah, a 30-mile drive from his boyhood home in Coulterville.

He replaces the retiring Bruce Fleshren, who had been Mascoutah’s chief for 12 years and had been with the Mascoutah police force for 20 years. Fleshren has since joined the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

Waldrup, 52, is looking forward to the challenge of leading the Mascoutah Police Department, which has 13 officers and one civilian employee.

“In a smaller town, you have a little more limited resources, but the resources we had at Alton hopefully aren’t quite as necessary here,” Waldrup said. “You don’t have quite the resources here, but you have good, quality professional officers who get the job done. I’m looking forward to being able to do policing within the community and forming ties with the community.”

Those efforts started Thursday as Waldrup met with Mascoutah school leaders. He said he would like to be the face of the department and get to know those who live in the community of nearly 10,000 people in eastern St. Clair County.

Mascoutah city officials began their search for Fleshren’s successor in late 2016. City manager Cody Hawkins said the city had 27 applicants. That group was whittled to five semifinalists, with two finalists coming back for final interviews with Hawkins.

“I was looking at several things,” Hawkins said. “How would they fit into the department, their leadership skills and management abilities. I also was looking to see how they would fit into the community and how they would work with city management and the city council. With him having 28 years of experience with the Alton Police Department and being second in command, he had a lot of managerial experience.

“He will be good for the department and keep things going in the right direction.”

Waldrup had worked in Alton since 1988, including a brief stint as interim chief of the department in 2013. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and served as an investigator on the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis. He is a certified juvenile officer.

Waldrup will be paid $86,000 a year, Hawkins said.

“The biggest thing is for him to continue to help keep the crime rate low so people feel safe in town,” Hawkins said. “We’d like for him to keep the morale up in the department. The department works well together.”

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND