STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
JOHNSON CITY — With a focus on a close relationship with the school district and keeping the community safe, a new police chief started his first day of work with the Johnson City Police Department on June 18.
Chief Ross Allen rose to the top of the list of 38 applicants for a hiring committee that made the recommendation to the Johnson City City Council, which approved hiring him in May.
Allen served from November 2009 to April 2016 as a police officer for the Johnson City agency.
His law enforcement experience includes a stint as a police officer in Northern California with the U.S. Department of Defense for nearly three years before returning to Johnson City for the chief position.
He also served as a deputy at the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office from 2001 to 2009.
“We loved the area. We had numerous friends,” Allen said of one of his reasons for pursuing the position. “It was a big influence when it comes to family to try to get closer to Central Texas.”
Allen replaced Randy Holland, who retired June 14.
The new chief’s experience and knowledge of the community made him a good fit for the spot, Johnson City City Secretary Anthony Holland said.
“With his previous experience, not only did the city council feel comfortable with him, so did the community,” Holland said “Overall, Ross had a really good understanding of the community and the issues we face every day.
“Ross had the right personality and fit for our community,” the city secretary added.
As he takes over the reins, Allen said he will encourage personnel and reinforce public safety.
“There’s five really good officers who are with the department and plan on staying with the department, so it’s just going to be maintaining the day-to-day operations,” he said. “One of my top priorities are to keep the community as safe as possible, both for the citizens and for visitors.”
Allen and his wife, Sarah, a homemaker, enjoy water recreation and outdoor activities such as hunting. The couple has three school-age children.
“The relationship with the school district is of utmost importance to me,” he said.