Sikeston takes pride in Juden's new role

Saturday, January 7, 2017

In the perfect example of a bittersweet moment: Sikeston's Drew Juden is Missouri's new Director of Public Safety.

The gain for Missouri is obviously a loss for Sikeston. Chief Juden has for years provided a level of leadership and dedication to this community like none before him.

I am proud to count Drew Juden as a friend. And on a professional level, the Chief is the most cooperative, helpful and transparent leader any community could hope for.

Drew's leadership has always been in high demand. Don't assume for a moment that the Chief has not had countless offers in the past to leave Sikeston for other opportunities.

But when the Governor calls, leaders respond.

Drew will lead a statewide department with some 6,000 employees involved in nine agencies. The department's $900 million plus budget is a massive undertaking.

But don't doubt for a minute that the Chief will be able to bring a new level of professionalism and expertise to this massive state department.

It's doubtful that anyone in this region does not know Drew Juden. But you gain that level of recognition only through successful efforts to the law enforcement arena.

Since the announcement this week, I have heard the word "proud" perhaps more than anytime in my life. It seems that Drew's success is somehow our success as well.

Drew has been a regular at a highly informal, ragtag group of early morning coffee drinkers in this office. His sense of humor is abundant and his grasp of the history of our community is insightful.

I've had to smile this week as readers of the Cape Girardeau newspaper are quick to claim Drew as one of their own. Granted, the Chief is indeed a Cape native and graduate of Cape Central High School.

But Drew is a Sikeston resident and a proud one at that. And just for the record, he has lived in Sikeston longer than Cape. So there!

It goes without saying that our community will miss this outstanding leader. We feel confident that interim Chief Mike Williams is up to the task of filling some very big shoes. And to that end, we pledge our support for our new Chief and will assist him in any manner possible.

And even though Drew will operate out of his new Jefferson City office complex, he will still call Sikeston home. He'll return most weekends and somehow, that is comforting.

We join the thousands of area residents who wish Drew Juden great success and safe passage as he guides the law enforcement efforts in the great state of Missouri.

Michael Jensen

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