Florence hires new police chief

The city of Florence has a new chief of police who said he believes in being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to identifying and preventing potential problems within the community.

Michael Stone, 37, replaced Conroy Miller, who left the department several months earlier. Prior to Stone?s arrival in late July, Jeremy Wilkerson served as the interim chief.

One of the first things Stone initiated as chief was a junior cadet program, bridging the police department with other agencies in Florence.

According to Stone, the cadets will provide a necessary link in furthering community trust.

?Getting teens involved in mentoring builds patience,? he said.??By helping another child, older teens feel a sense of pride.?

He also wants to know what is good or what complaints people have.

?I believe in an open-door policy,? he said. ?Not all complaints are crime-related.?

Other ways to build relations within the community, Stone said, would include patrolling on foot or riding the school bus once a week. In doing so, he said he can focus on issues affecting young people in Florence.

?Community awareness starts with kids,? he said.

Originally from southern California, Stone spent eight years in the U.S. Army, served as a SWAT team sergeant with the El Dorado Correctional Facility and later handled fugitive warrants with the Butler County Sheriff?s office.

Stone said he and his family are glad to be in Florence and they like their community.

He and his wife, Alicia, have three children: Michael, 17; Bradley, 13; and Cheyenne, 9.

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