UPDATED at 11:20 a.m. Thursday with comments from new chief.
ST. CHARLES COUNTY — The new police chief of St. Charles County said Thursday that his department has a solid foundation and he hopes to elevate it to become a “premier” police force.
Kurt Frisz, 57, explained a few of his goals shortly after he was sworn in as only the second chief for the agency since it became a police department five years ago. Previously, a sheriff’s department with an elected sheriff patrolled the unincorporated spots of St. Charles County.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann announced the selection of Frisz and the County Council confirmed the appointment in February. His salary will be $132,000.
Frisz comes to the St. Charles County department from Wentzville, where he served five years as chief of that municipal department. He also spent 29 years with St. Louis County police in various roles such as a member of the SWAT team and a supervisor in the North County precinct and bureau of drug enforcement.
Frisz replaces David Todd, who retired after nearly 42 years in St. Charles County law enforcement and five years as chief. Dave Tiefenbrunn served as chief in the interim.
Frisz last year was named chief of the year by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College.
The St. Charles County police force has about 130 sworn officers. It serves approximately 396,000 residents living within 587 square miles.
At his brief swearing-in ceremony Thursday, Frisz said, “I feel really good about coming here.” He said working in Wentzville allowed him to get to know the area and many of the police commanders in St. Charles County.
“I think the foundation is set to take it to the next level and be a premier police department,” Frisz said, “and be that go-to police department in St. Charles County.”
Frisz told the Post-Dispatch that the department already has a solid reputation and he wants to “maintain and grow that.”
He said that, over time, he might bring new programs to the department such as having officers do “walk and talks,” meeting with people in their neighborhoods about concerns they might have. He said he found value in that kind of community engagement when he was a precinct lieutenant in St. Louis County.
In St. Charles County, the most prevalent crime problem now is property crime, such as when thieves flip door handles on unlocked vehicles to take whatever valuables are inside.