Community Impact Newspaper spoke to Shilson about his new role and the future of the police department.
What has kept you at the Frisco Police Department for most of your career?
There’s been a lot of opportunity for career advancement, and not just that. We’re a growing agency, so having the chance to be a part of that has been really special. I had no idea when I came here that it was going to grow to the extent that it has. ... It’s really unique in that most police departments don’t grow this rapidly, and they don’t offer the different challenges and opportunities that Frisco Police Department does.
Why did you want to take on the police chief position?
As I’ve moved up through the ranks here at this department, each rank has allowed me a different set of challenges and different opportunities to serve the department and try to improve it. As the chief, it allows me further opportunity to shape the department and move us forward. This is my home, so I’m very committed to the city and the organization.
In a growing city, what are the biggest challenges the police department faces?
The biggest challenge is keeping up with all that growth and making sure that we’re hiring qualified people that will serve our community to the expectations that we have here. The biggest issue with police officers is when you hire them, they have to go through about 18 months worth of training before they’re out there on the streets by themselves. ... That lag time really is a challenge for us. If I say I need four or five officers today, it’s really going to be a year and a half before I have them.
Certainly, one of the things we’re facing here is, from a facilities standpoint, we’re outgrowing this building. The voters approved the PD expansion bond that allows us some money to expand this facility.
Do you foresee any changes to the police department over the next few years?
Some of the things that we’ll see is a lot of legal changes. Every legislative session, we’re confronted with new laws that sometimes pose us challenges. Right now, the marijuana laws are challenging us because we’re required to do quantitative testing on marijuana. That’s required us to seek out a private lab to get that testing done, which, there’s an expense with that. Vaping is something that’s been well-publicized. It’s a challenge that we’re faced with our youth. We’re really working well with [Frisco ISD] to try to combat that.
The [Professional Golfers’ Association of America headquarters] is a tremendous opportunity, but it’s one of those things that—we’ll definitely have to work with them, just like we did with the Cowboys, to be prepared for what they’re going to bring to our city—whether it’s traffic, whether it’s security. All of those things we have to plan on the forefront to make sure that we have all the resources in place that we need.
What else do you want residents to know about you taking on this role?
The high quality of service that we have provided to the citizens of Frisco is going to continue, and my hope is it’s going to continue to get better. There’s one thing that we won’t sacrifice here, and that’s the quality of the individuals that we hire. We’re not going to sacrifice the expectations in how they’re supposed to serve the community. Citizens should know that; they should know that, as a resident here, I’m just as invested as they are in making sure that our community is kept safe and that we’re doing everything we need to stay out in front of crime trends and issues that may be coming our way.
The other thing that I think we do really well here is we have really good interaction with our citizens. ... We dialogue with a lot of different groups. Frisco is a very diverse city. We’re interacting and having dialogue with all the diverse populations that are here. Ultimately, what makes us successful as an organization is how well we work with our public.