Local government

Montpelier police chief moving on to Manhattan (KS)

Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete and his family will be moving to Manhattan Kansas, where he will be chief of police. His last day on the job in Montpelier is December 31. Page photo

By Guy Page

Police Chief Brian Peete is leaving Montpelier for Manhattan – Manhattan, Kansas, that is. 

Peete has been named the new director (AKA chief) of the Riley County Police Department. He was hired by Montpelier two years ago, shortly after the George Floyd killing began an eruption of anti-police feeling nationwide and in Vermont. It was noted that he was then the only, and one of the first-ever, African-American police chiefs in Vermont. 

Peete wants to be closer to family and his midwestern, Chicago roots, according to media reports. Chicago is about 600 miles from Manhattan, compared to 900 from Montpelier. 

By all accounts the parting was harmonious. “It’s extraordinarily emotional for me because I really love the men and women that I work with in Vermont and we’ve gone through a lot together, so it’s an extraordinarily bittersweet thing,” Peete told 13News in Manhattan, Kansas.

“There’s so much that’s going on in Riley County and it’s just, wow!,” Peete said with his trademark upbeat enthusiasm. “You go from one high-functioning department to another super high-functioning department and there’s definitely pressure on to make sure I continue up the thing the department has been doing right and I will.”

“Chief Peete has made excellent contributions to the city and its police department, which will carry forward into the future,” City Manager Bill Fraser said in a press statement. “We are disappointed to be losing him as chief but wish him the very best in his new community.”

The chief’s departure is the second high-level resignation at MPD in the past week. Detective Sergeant Wade Cochran has been named Chief of Police of Norwich, Vermont, MPD announced October 24. Chief Peete will stay on the job through 2022. No replacement has been named. Like most Vermont police departments, MPD was short-handed even before Peete’s and Cochran’s departure. 

In Montpelier, Peete earned high marks with media and concerned citizens for his approachability and responsiveness. 

Like Montpelier, Manhattan is a county seat but is far larger with a population of 54,000. It was founded by New England anti-slavery organization hoping to settle the then-territory with ‘free state’ residents. Nicknamed “The Little Apple” as a play on New York City’s “Big Apple”, Manhattan is the home of Kansas State University and has a distinct college town atmosphere, according to Wikipedia. Unlike Montpelier, the Congressional district to which Manhattan belongs votes 3-1 Republican. 

Categories: Local government

5 replies »

  1. Congratulations to Chief Wade Cochran ! I wish he was moving up in Mount Peculiar’s Department, instead of moving to Norwich, but Mount Peculiar’s loss is Norwich’s gain.

  2. But of course, Mayor Moonbeam, City Manager Falsier and the bards of Montpeculiar say that did a great job; and, he says its the best job he ever had. No “Negative” reasons why he left after two years. Just one big love fest. Absolutely. Of course!

  3. Nothing against the chief but, a little city in Vermont can’t find and hire a Vermonter who knows the people and our customs? Montpelier was doing it’s virtue dance for the moonbeams that live there. Good luck chief Peete and that was a smart move on your part. While I don’t know your real reason for leaving Montpelier but, I bet you realized that it’s hard to fly with eagles when you work with turkeys and I don’t mean the other officers. I mean the city council and the mayor.

  4. Best wishes to Chief Peete and his family as they make this transition. All the best.

  5. Considering he has a young child, his decison may have weighed more on her future than his – Vermont is no longer family friendly or a safe, viable environment for children per the headlines.