Brad WellsWOOD RIVER - The Wood River Police Department has named a new police chief to replace Otis Steward, who is retiring. The new chief will be an experienced and well known law enforcement officer - Brad Wells.

Wells retired from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and took a job with the Wood River Police Department, where he started his career and it was a natural progression to move back to the chief position, Wood River Mayor Cheryl Maguire said. Dan Bunt will continue as deputy police chief for Wood River.

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“I think Brad will do a great job,” Maguire said. “Brad will have some slots to fill because we also have had another officer retire and his position as an officer will also be open to filling.”

Wells said he very much appreciates his selection as the new Wood River Police chief. He also praised Otis Steward: “Otis has also done a good job and has spearheaded the new police station that is coming.”

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“I am excited about it,” he said. “Obviously, this is one of the things I have looked forward to doing. My career started with the Wood River Police Department, then I went to the sheriff’s department. I love the city of Wood River and I look forward to working in the new facility with a wonderful group of police officers. The people in the department are very eager to do law enforcement. I don’t think it could be a better fit.”

Wells and Deputy Chief Bunt are long-time friends, he said. Wells said he greatly respects Bunt as a police officer.

“The Bunt family is full of first responders,” he said. “Our friendship goes way back to when we attended the police academy. He is one of the best officers I know.”

Wells concluded: “I feel very fortunate and grateful for the confidence the city manager, the mayor, and the city council has given me.”

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