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2018 Men of the Year: Tim Clothier

Ozark Police Department

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Public service has been ingrained in Tim Clothier his entire adult life.

With more than a quarter-century of work in law enforcement, Clothier says he strives to be a good teacher, listener, role model and mentor. He became chief of police in 2015 for the Ozark Police Department.

“I have always practiced doing the right thing for the right reasons, simply because it was the right thing to do,” he says.

Some of that philosophy can be traced back to his four-year stint in the United States Marine Corps, for which he enlisted after graduating high school in Sparta, Illinois, in 1986. While in the Marines, he was assigned to the White House Military Office, in which he served as a military police officer and a presidential security guard under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

He arrived in Ozark by way of Owensboro, Kentucky, a town of 58,000 with a 110-member police department. Over his 24-year career with the Owensboro Police Department, Clothier picked up experience in numerous roles and divisions, setting the table for his leadership role in Ozark.

Soon after taking over as police chief, Clothier and the police department began amending and adopting policies and procedures with the mindset of being accredited by the Missouri Police Chiefs Charitable Foundation. After inviting personnel from the foundation to audit the police department in 2017, the accreditation goal was accomplished, Clothier says. OPD became the 12th police department out of more than 500 in the state to be accredited – an achievement he says affirms the agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership and resource management.

“Although this is not an easy task any chief can accomplish alone, I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Ozark Police Department for getting behind the idea and working as a team to accomplish the astronomical task,” he says.

Clothier says his leadership style relies on obtaining continuous feedback while regularly developing and nourishing relationships. It’s much like the process the department undertook to become accredited.

“I see myself as being similar to a ship’s captain – meaning we can only stay afloat as a team, listening to each other, helping each other and keeping the ship on course,” he says. “Everyone is important to the success of our organization. … I promote the success of others by empowering every member of our organization to be involved in the decision-making process when possible, thereby giving them a sense of ownership and pride.”

Naturally, law enforcement organizations also make up some of Clothier’s involvement in civic affairs, as he serves as a board member for a drug task force, called the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Eradication Team, and Christian County Emergency Services, as well as chairman of Christian County’s Law Enforcement Restitution Fund Board. Teaching others is also part of his desire to lead by example, as the police chief is an adjunct professor for the law enforcement academy at Drury University.

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