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Former Atwood Police Chief Rob Bross Assumes Position as Police Chief of Monticello

Police Chief Rob Bross, center, is pictured with Atwood Village Trustees, left to right, Village President Bill Fleming, Trustees Ron Wallace, Christine Stoltz and Diane Eagan. Not pictured: Dave Ard, Scott Harris & Allen Kilber.

By Doris Elmore
Staff Writer

Former Atwood Police Chief Rob Bross was guest of honor at a “Farewell” Open House on Friday, February 24, at the United Church of Atwood Fellowship Hall. The event was hosted by Christine Stoltz, Diane Eagan and Doris Elmore. Christine and Diane are current trustees on the board and Doris is a former trustee. Christine is the current police chairperson, Doris and Shirley Schable were former police chairpersons.

Chief Bross started as Police Chief for the Village of Atwood in August, 2011. Shirley was police chairperson at that time and she told Rob that the village had a lot of loose dog calls and the occasional domestic. He has reminded her of that comment many times. A few months after becoming chief, Rob was involved in a standoff on Iowa Street. Over the past 11 and a half years, Rob says he has seen some great things and then some not so great things.

Rob states, “The biggest change that I’ve seen in the area is the spread of methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl use. It seemed as if we arrested two or three people then we would have another group come in. A lot of people involved in it ran in the same circles. At one point. We arrested the same people with mutual contacts in Monticello, Bement Atwood, Arthur and Tuscola. We went so far as to offer people assistance to get help for their drug addiction. It was not uncommon to have them tell us they did not have a problem and would just bond out later.”

He continued, “Some of the other difficult things we had to handle over the years were the juvenile abuse calls. One of the bigger cases we had involved the arrest of Dennis West and bringing, hopefully, some sort of sense of justice for the victims.

Rob says that one of the benefits was getting to know different people in the village and building those relationships. He feels there are a lot of nice and productive people in the village that really contribute to the success of Atwood.

Chief Bross had a great relationship with the Atwood-Hammond Elementary School. Rob said his relationship with the school definitely helped him. He states, “We dramatically decreased our juvenile calls for service. The school staff was absolutely awesome to work with. Everyone from the administration, teachers, and non-certified and support staff care for the students greatly. The kids were absolutely fantastic and I know they will continue to do great things.”

On Thursday, February 23, Chris Forman, A-H Grade School Principal, declared the day “Officer Bross Day.” Mr. Forman told this reporter the students dressed as police officers and a surprise assembly was held to show Officer Bross all the love and appreciation the school has had for him over the last 12 years.

Several student groups and teachers presented him with sayings, poems, and a survival kit for his new job. Also, members of the Arthur, Lovington, Atwood, Hammond administration and board were in attendance as well. The AHGS faculty provided a potluck lunch and Officer Bross was able to enjoy each lunch hour with the teachers and students. Forman stated, “Officer Bross has meant so much to our school and community. We thought this was a fitting way to send him off to his new adventure.”

Chief Bross says he was able to perform a lot of different aspects of the job. Again, being in a small agency, he was involved in investigations, evidence processing, and other specialized fields. He was able to work with public works when we were short handed (digging on Main St. & plowing snow).

Christine stated, “Rob not only was a Chief of Police, but he has made so many friends and relationships that we will miss. We wish him good luck. He not only patrolled the streets, but he would help anyone in need, from calling Red Cross to helping kids. He has built some amazing and long-term relationships.”

As being a village trustee and police chairperson, this reporter can tell you there is a lot more that goes on in this small village than anyone will know. You never know when you go to a domestic call exactly what will take place. Rob has had some close calls. Most people will remember when he was hurt chasing Cory Larimore. The police car was totaled and Rob was badly injured. It took him quite a while to completely recover, even though he came back to work. Most of his time here was working alone. We would get a second officer, then they left to make more money. Sure, there were some that bad-mouthed Rob, but those were the ones that had been in trouble. Rob has a great sense of humor but, when necessary, he is all about the law. The

Village of Atwood will miss him keeping the town safe. I had the privilege of riding with him a couple of times for Speed Awareness Day. What a rush of adrenaline for this reporter. Thanks for the experience, Rob. I know the recent loss of young people will always stay with Rob. He was ready to help anyone.

Rob says, “I will miss the good, productive citizens of Atwood. I thoroughly enjoyed my time getting to know the town and people. A lot of them opened their homes to me and even offered to let me stay at their house on the late nights with a snow storm coming through, or the long festival days.”

Rob began his new job as Police Chief for the City of Monticello on Monday, February 28. We wish him the best of luck. He lives in Monticello and now he will be able to spend more time with his family, Lindsay, Spencer and Robbie. We thank them for their patience with him spending so much time in Atwood for the past 12 years. I feel we will see him around from time to time.

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