This past Monday, a new era started in the City of Vandalia for law enforcement as new Police Chief Christopher Hammann started his full-time position.
Chief Hammann was hired on December 15 and served the city in a part-time capacity while he was finishing up his service as New Bloomfield’s Chief of Police along with his position as a regional service manager for a service company serving four states and 17 service technicians.
“Here in Vandalia, my focus is community policing,” Chief Hamman said in regards to his vision for the department.
“Getting back to do business checks, start a ‘Shop with Hero’ program, and any other events we can come up with to work in the community.”
Chief Hammann also said he looks forward to mentoring kids in the community. He comes to Vandalia with several positions in law enforcement in the last 17 years.
The Army Veteran started with the Cache, Oklahoma Police Department in 1999.
He later worked for the Versailles Police Department, served as a deputy sheriff five years in Miller County, and was at New Bloomfield for five years while becoming the city’s Police Chief in 2013.
During his career, he was a GW Law Award nominee in both 2013 and 2014, won a 2014 United Way Philanthropy Day award, was a M.A.D.D. speaker, featured speaker for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in 2014, served on the Human Rights Commission in the City of Fulton, and was a firefighter in Cole County for 16 years.
His education includes a masters degree in Criminal Justice Administration and he’s currently working on a doctorate.
Chief Hammann said he previously applied for the Vandalia position when former Chief of Police Tony Laird retired in 2015. He did a second interview at the time.
“I’m big with communities, I’m active; I’m very community oriented,” he said.
One immediate challenge for the new Police Chief is staffing changes.
The Vandalia Police Department is budgeted in the current year for six full-time officers while hiring part-time officers as needed. Chief Hammann said he has just two part-time officers currently on staff and through the month of December, the city had just three full-time officers on board. The Audrain County Sheriff’s Office is offering assistance.
“Staffing is always going to be a challenge,” Chief Hammann said. “Things have happened so law enforcement has changed. My goal is to get quality police officers in Vandalia. To not focus on tickets but focus on response and community relations.”
Chief Hammann also said there’s obviously an advantage to having full-time officers who make being an officer their number one job and those who want to continue this line of work as a career while making Vandalia their home.