ELLIS — The city of Ellis didn’t have to look far for its new police chief. Christopher Krom, an officer with eight years on the city’s force, was appointed to the position a week ago.

Krom takes over the department after the retirement in November of Taft Yates, who served in that position since 2012.

Krom said Yates brought integrity and professionalism to the small department, and he plans to continue many of his predecessor’s policies.

“Chief Yates, he made a good impact on the department, and there’s not going to be any major changes,” he said. “Over the last 10, 12 years, our department’s policies and the perception from the public has really increased and our reputation has gotten better and better, and I want to build on that. I’m not going backwards, I’m going forward."

Other than hiring another officer, Krom said, the public won’t notice much change in his administration of the office. He plans on streamlining some internal processes, such as handling paperwork.

Krom, a Great Bend native, said he comes from a “family of cops.”

“My male role models growing up were cops. It makes you want to strive,” he said.

After graduating high school in Colorado Springs, Colo., he moved back to Great Bend and went to work for the Kansas Department of Corrections in 2003, working his way up from corrections officer to shift lieutenant.

A move with his family brought him to Ellis County in 2011, and he was soon hired for a position in the Ellis Police Department.

“I started trying to make myself indispensable to the department,” he said, obtaining certification for instruction with firearms, armor and Tasers.

“I’m not one to let myself stay stagnant. I always want to learn new things, I always want to better myself,” he said.

Working with children and their safety is one of his passions, he said, and he has been the department’s bicycle safety officer and helps with driver’s education.

He is also certified in child passenger safety and offers free child safety seat checks to residents.

“Around 70 to 80% of everyone who comes in has their seat installed wrong. It changes from car to car and seat to seat,” he said. “I also check for recalls and expiration and that sort of thing."

When a new officer is hired, that will bring the department’s number up to five. Even though it is a small force in a small community, that doesn’t mean the officers don’t keep busy, Krom said.

“We have more than 1,500 cases we’ve worked this year. That ranges anywhere from aggravated assault to drugs to traffic stops. There’s just a huge gamut of things we deal with,” he said.