Effingham officially has a new Police Chief after a city council vote Tuesday night. Effingham native Jeff Fuesting will begin his duties as chief on January 3rd. He will be replacing former Police Chief Michael Schutzbach who served in the position for 30 years.
“It was always a dream to work at the Effingham Police Department at a young age,” Fuesting said. His father, Mark Fuesting, served in the Effingham Police Department when he was growing up. “It was a perfect time for me to get my family back to Effingham and follow my dream as being the Chief of Police for the City of Effingham”
Chief Fuesting discusses coming back to Effingham.
Fuesting comes from over 22 years of experience in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. He was directly involved in the 2014 upheaval in the area following the shooting death of Michael Brown. However, Fuesting says his approach is outreach-oriented. “Community policing, [and] community outreach is going to be my priority number one,” Fuesting remarked. He referred to the community’s relationship with the police as a partnership. “I’m really big into being transparent with the community,” he continued. For Effingham, that means new community programs and a larger presence on social media.
Chief Fuesting discusses community outreach.
Fuesting is just in time for the process of building the new Effingham Police Station. He requested that the public be patient, and understanding, during the transition to the new building. The process of demolishing the old station and building the new one could start as early is this spring.
Fuesting said that all communities have unique needs when it comes to law enforcement, however some things, no matter how big or small the community, stay the same. “We’re going to address those needs and build upon the great success that these officers have done to date,” Fuesting said.
Fuesting is married with two children, a college-age son and a 9-year-old daughter.