Since launching his law enforcement career in 2009 as a patrol officer, Jeff Lofton has served in the field in many capacities. Today, he is chief of police at the Clever Police Department, a role he’s held since 2019.
Since landing the job, Lofton launched several programs to better the community. The first was establishing a chaplain program to support the community and victims of crime.
“Within three months, I had established a solid chaplain program with six fully trained pastors from our area,” he says.
Another, the Window Alert Program, was designed to give first responders a heads up on any physical or mental challenges the home occupants they’re coming to serve may face. The department distributes decals to indicate whether occupants have medical conditions, such as autism, deafness, diabetes or Alzheimer’s/dementia, that might hinder their ability to respond in the emergency.
“This program has been in place for approximately two years, and we have received multiple emails and calls from agencies across the country requesting information and assistance on how to start the program in their communities,” Lofton says. “Not only has this program proven to be a success in my community, its effects are far-reaching.”
Lofton says he operates with a lead-from-the-front mentality.
“I am visible and engaged with employees, schools, businesses and members of the community,” he says.
Two of the programs he’s implemented were designed specifically for the community: a Citizen’s Academy and a Youth Academy. The training helps residents learn about the field of law enforcement.
“The ultimate goal of these academies was to build trust and transparency between our agency and the communities in which we serve by allowing stakeholders to have firsthand knowledge of what we do and how we do it,” he says.
Lofton says serving on the board of directors of Empower Missouri is among his proudest accomplishments. He says he is the first law enforcement professional to hold a position on the board.
“This group has a mission of working to secure basic human needs like nutritious foods and affordable housing along with equal justice, accessible lawmaking processes and evidence-based public policy, for all people in Missouri through coalition-building and advocacy,” Lofton says.
Lofton also is an instructor at the Drury University Law Enforcement Academy and Command College through the Missouri Police Chiefs Association.
He says continuing to be engaged with the community and being there for people who have been victims of crime continue to motivate him in work.
“These tiny victories do not come with a medal or a certificate to hang on the wall, but they are a constant reminder of why I serve, and are proof that leading from the heart results in success. Everyone sees the big awards that make the paper, but the ones which I am most proud of are the unseen wins and the unheard stories,” Lofton says.
Plans for the Finley Ridge apartment complex in the growing community of Ozark call for four buildings, four stories apiece, with 48 units each for a total of 192, as well as a 1,500-square-foot shared community and fitness room.