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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

La Cygne taps Paola detective as new police chief

New La Cygne Police Chief Zachary Mathies, his wife Kaylee, and their 15-month-old son were at Wednesday's La Cygne Council meeting to witness the unanimous vote that approved his appointment. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

LA CYGNE – A detective for the Paola Police Department has been selected to be the next chief of police for La Cygne. Following a brief closed-door session on Wednesday, June 5, to discuss personnel matters, the La Cygne City Council members emerged to unanimously confirm Zachary Mathies as the city’s new police chief.

Although the appointment was retroactive to June 1, Mathies said he wouldn’t assume his duties full-time until June 17. He said on Wednesday following his appointment that he had already notified the Paola Police Department that he would likely be leaving if the La Cygne council approved his appointment.

Attending the meeting with his wife, Kaylee Mathies, and his young 15-month-old son, Barrett, the new police chief in a separate interview said that he would spend the next week and half getting familiar with the workings of not only the workings of La Cygne Police Department and its budget but also the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

A Louisburg resident, Mathies said that one of his top early priorities will be to add another full-time officer to the department. With the departure earlier this spring by Officer Jo LeSturgeon, the La Cygne department’s only full-time officer has been Achilles Ferrell. The department has been working with three part-time officers.

Interim Police Chief Craig Haley said he planned to stay on the La Cygne force part time. Haley is a full-time deputy with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.; he is also police chief of Parker. Haley said that the workload increase from being interim La Cygne chief plus his full-time and part-time positions had been very demanding.

A Manhattan, Kan., native, Mathies attended the Manhattan Area Technical College, where he earned a degree in automotive mechanics, after completing high school.

“I am a mechanic,” he said, but added that training will help as he is in charge of maintaining a small fleet of patrol vehicles. He has since completed the required course at the Kansas Law Enforcement Officers Training Center.

Mathies took a job with the city of Wamego, Kan., as a part-time officer in 2015. Since then he has steadily climbed the ladder from officer to sergeant to detective. He went to work for the Paola Police Department in 2017 as a patrol officer and was subsequently promoted to patrol sergeant. He was appointed to the detective position with that department in 2022.

By accepting the La Cygne police chief job, Mathies said he saw the opportunity to get in on a ground floor rebuilding of the police department in a way that benefits the community but also in a way that meets the 21st century policing ideals.

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