Updated 10:57 a.m. June 23
This article has been corrected to clarify Raymond Shaw resigned May 1, rather than retiring as originally written.
Troye Dunlap was named the interim chief of the Shenandoah Police Department on May 13 by Shenandoah City Council following his predecessor, Raymond Shaw, who resigned May 1.
Dunlap has been with the department since 1997, and as the police chief he said he has a few things he wants to work on, such as communication between police and the public and expanding training for the officers.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What are some of the goals you’re wanting to work toward as chief?
One of the biggest problems people have brought to my attention is that communication is a big deal. Not just internally within the agency, but communication with the community and how we interact with them. I want to start a Facebook for Shenandoah Police Department, just for us, and that should be coming pretty soon. The overall culture of the department ... I want to see more proactive work and more community outreach. I want to see the officers driving the communities with their windows down so people can see their faces and who they are interacting with.
I want training to improve by increasing the amount of training and how we are doing it. With the budget ... I don’t want to spend money frivolously. I know how important it is to the residents and the city because if I’m taking up all of the resources, there’s another project that’s not getting done. I want community outreach programs that are more than just ticking a box.
We’re creating a citizen’s academy, which teaches the community what we do and dispels a lot of the myths and rumors about law enforcement. We got with the Shenandoah Civics Club and asked what they wanted to see, because we can’t make the community join a program we created.
You mentioned expanding training for officers. What kind of training is available on the job for officers, and in light of recent national events, is there going to be additional or expanding training they might be receiving?
There’s a lot of training out there already. A lot of agencies that get in trouble with use of force issues are larger agencies, and they usually don’t have a big budget for training. We have a good budget for training; each officer is allotted a certain amount of money each year, so we allow them to go for certain training. The state also requires us to go through de-escalation training [and] citizen interaction training. Along with that, a lot of issues with law enforcement is a confidence issue. If you train officers well enough and they get their confidence, they don’t have to use that excessive force. A lot of problems officers get into is fear from not being comfortable to handle a situation. That’s what I want to work with these guys on.
When you go through the police academy most of the time, they teach you how to pass the test. That’s it; that’s your training. Training the guys in tactics builds their confidence so they won’t overuse force.
We create our training program here; we utilize Montgomery County, and we are also looking at a training simulator that has scenarios built into the program. We have training throughout the week where we run scenarios. That’s the stuff we have to increase and budget for.
What kind of challenges does Shenandoah face from a policing standpoint as a small community outside of a metropolitan area?
This is a huge challenge. You have everything here, lots of hotels, I-45, tons of commercial, medical facilities and banks within a very small area. It’s a prime location for criminal activity to come here. It goes back to educating the public. If people knew and understood that this area has crime of burglaries [for example], they need to put their stuff away inside of their vehicle. Part of that is getting with businesses, which we are working on, and getting the word out. We have to get stuff out in the community and let them know we have crime here. We want to do high-intensity patrols, and I’m glad I’m seeing our cars driving around.