Jersey Village’s new police chief—an internal hire who has been with the department since 2019—was sworn in on Feb. 10.

Jersey Village Police Chief Danny Keele, formerly the department’s criminal investigations division commander, took over the department from former Chief Kirk Riggs. Riggs announced his retirement in October, and his last official day is March 1.

In a Jan. 26 email, Keele said he has worked in law enforcement since 2002 in roles such as officer for the Mesquite Police Department and the Cy-Fair ISD Police Department.

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What is your previous job experience and education?

I grew up in Houston and Katy, Texas, and proudly graduated from Katy High School in 1999. ... My educational journey led me to Lamar University where I earned both my bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice. With over two decades of law enforcement experience under my belt, I hold several distinguished certifications. ...

In 2019, my passion for municipal policing called me back, and I assumed the role of sergeant with the Jersey Village Police Department. During my time here in Jersey Village, I have taken on responsibilities as a patrol sergeant, criminal investigations lieutenant and patrol lieutenant.

What made you interested in applying for this position?

My earliest memory of being asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up," has always been centered around becoming a police officer. ... It has consistently felt like a true calling for me. Over the years, I have had the privilege of looking up to some truly remarkable individuals in this profession, many of whom now wear stars on their collars and serve in various cities across Texas. ...

My wife and children have supported, encouraged and made sacrifices through these years. This moment in my career is indebted to them for paving the way, taking the time to educate, inspire and support me.

My experience here in Jersey Village has been nothing short of extraordinary. The community is outstanding, the staff members are exceptional, and the organization's culture radiates positivity. Those who wear the uniform daily hold themselves to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. Moreover, the support of the city manager and council for public safety is unwavering. All these factors combined made my decision to apply for this position an easy one.

What is your first goal as police chief?

My first goal as chief will be to achieve full staffing for our department. Presently, there are three vacancies for the position of police officer. We maintain a stringent selection process when it comes to recruitment. Our community deserves the most highly qualified and dedicated police officers, and we are unwavering in our commitment to uphold these high hiring standards.

In light of the challenges posed by the pandemic and various civil unrest incidents nationwide, law enforcement has seen ... staffing levels decline. We firmly believe that a career in law enforcement is a calling, and we are dedicated to identifying individuals who are committed in their determination to combat crime, uphold the trust between our organization and the community, display compassion, discipline, and have an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in our community.