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Veteran police officers appointed as new Stillwater chief of police, assistant chief of police

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Jeff Watts and Shannon Jordan

Jeff Watts (right) and Shannon Jordan were named Stillwater's new chief of police and assistant chief of police, respectively.

Officer Shannon Jordan came home from patrol around 2:30 a.m. on Friday. He tried to get as much sleep as he could before getting up and reporting back to the police station at 9:30 a.m., but when he arrived, he was no longer Officer Jordan.

He was Assistant Police Chief Jordan.

City Manager Norman McNickle announced in a press release on Jan. 23 that Jeff Watts would be taking over as the new chief of police after Ryan McCaghren retired in November. Jordan was announced as the new assistant chief of police. Friday was their first day in their new positions.

“This week has pretty much been no sleep,” Jordan said. “As soon as the city manager made the notifications, our phones have just been blowing up from family and friends and coworkers and everybody else.”

Both Watts and Jordan have been with the Stillwater Police Department for 27 years. Watts has spent the last 13 years as a member of the Criminal Investigations Division and has been a lieutenant supervising the division for the past three years. Jordan was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army prior to joining the SPD and has served as a member of the SWAT team and the patrol division with Watts.

Jordan said that the entire week has been busy because he’s been trying to slowly start  transitioning into his new role while still performing his old one. Watts has been similarly busy.

“It’s very hectic because there’s a lot of transitional work to be done,” Watts said. “It’s exciting. It’s going fast, the day’s kind of like the blink of an eye.”

Watts and Jordan said that their first order of business is to build their leadership team. They don’t have plans to implement big changes within the police department in the near future. Their goal is to find out what their officers need first and then start making those adjustments as needed.

“My goal is just to take care and be able to support the men and women of the Stillwater Police Department,” Jordan said. “I want to make sure that they have everything they need to be able to do their job, to serve the citizens of Stillwater.”

Watts added that leadership is important to both of them.

“Our biggest vision is leadership,” Watts said. “That is our focus for the organization. As part of that, the changes that will come about will be what we learn from our members. The more we do for them, the more they can do for people.”

Watts also said that he hopes to grow the police department’s relationship with the community. He wants people to be able to reach out to him and Jordan to address any issues that need to be addressed. Jordan said he believes having a strong relationship with the community will help the department to do its job better.

Stillwater mayor Will Joyce said that he’s excited about the appointments the city manager has made to the police department.

“I think Norman McNickle, his past as a police chief here and an officer for many years, gives him a great perspective on that hire and appointing the right people to those positions,” Joyce said. “We look forward to working with them and look forward to them expanding the good reputation of the Stillwater Police Department.”

There will be a pinning ceremony for Watts and Jordan on Friday at 3 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building. It will be open to the public.

Watts said that he was excited and honored to be chosen as the new police chief. He understands the importance of the role he is taking and is excited to not only be a role model for the other members of the police force but also for the public.

“I’ve always looked at (police chief) as ‘That is the representation of the Stillwater Police Department to the public,’” Watts said. “The organization is so much bigger than one person. For me it was just such a great honor and opportunity to have the chance to step into those shoes.”

Jordan also said he was honored to be chosen for his position but recognizes that he and Watts are only two people. Their influence can only go so far, but he has faith in his officers.

“The Stillwater Police Department is made up of some of the finest officers in the state,” Jordan said. “They will perform and do an outstanding job regardless of who the leaders are. Our job is just to make their job easier.”