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New Chief doesn't last 30 days!

New Haven Police Department dissolves after new chief resigns amid his concerns about evidence handling

February 7th, 2024

On Jan. 8, Police Chief John Hallquist was sworn in. He resigned on Jan. 31.

NEW HAVEN, Mo. — The City of New Haven, Missouri, dissolved its police department after the chief suddenly resigned.

New Haven is in Franklin County, about an hour from downtown St. Louis.

On Jan. 8, Police Chief John Hallquist was sworn in, but he resigned on Jan. 31.

Hallquist has more than 30 years in law enforcement and lives in rural New Haven.

City administrator Kathleen Trentmann was taken aback by the news.

"It was a shock, we were not prepared for that," she said. "His resignation basically brought up some concerns regarding proper handling of evidence."

In the resignation letter, Hallquist said he stepped down because of circumstances surrounding the department and the information discovered, which he didn't know about before his appointment.

"Because I have a duty to intervene, some of this information required that I notify the proper authorities," he added.

Hallquist also said he loved the town, but, "Because of what I know now, I have no further desire to be associated with the New Haven Police Department in any capacity."

On Friday, the Board of Alderman held a special meeting where they voted to unanimously dissolve the New Haven Police Department. It also voted to contract the Franklin County Sheriff's Office for six months to continue duties.

Beyond patrolling the area, the sheriff's office is also conducting an audit and inventory of evidence at the department.

Chief Deputy TJ Wild said he is assigned to the city of New Haven and will have deputies working to oversee roughly 2,400 residents.

He said the department should be equipped with seven officers and by the time it was dissolved, the department was down to three people.

"It will be more work, we are confident we can get this done," Wild said.

As for the audit, Wild said it hasn't started yet and anticipates it will begin in a few days.

"We're going to sit down with Hallquist and figure what led him to that point and hopefully pick up from there. The number of items in the evidence room I don't know, we just need to go in there and see where the truth takes us," Wild added. 

As a New Haven native, Trentmann looks forward to a new day.

"New Haven is a great community. We will get through this and we will be back to New Haven," he said. 

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