ASH GROVE, Mo. – The police department in Ash Grove has been operating with a very limited staff since last fall. That’s when the police chief resigned to take a job in another town. Then, two of the town’s four officers left.

On Thursday night, the towns board of aldermen and citizens had a chance to meet three candidates for the chief role.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office has been providing additional support during recent months. Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott was in attendance to offer support and assistance during the process. He said officer shortages have been affecting all departments, including his own.

The three candidates who spoke were Bob Bell, a current Ash Grove police sergeant; John Davis, the current deputy police chief of Lamar; and Gilbert Correa, a recently-retired officer of the Springfield Police department. Each of the finalists talked about what they’d bring to the community and answered questions from citizens.

“There is a shortage everywhere, but I think this town will show itself,” explained resident Caleb Smith. “Even as a community, it takes two. If we want this town to be successful and be an up and coming young town, we have to play our part too.”

After the public portion of the meeting, the board of aldermen went into a closed session to further interview the three candidates. Mayor Les Gardner explained they’ll narrow that list down to two, and could make an offer to the right candidate as early as next week.