It is no surprise the 6-foot-4-inch Shenandoah Chief of Police John Chancellor was once an aspiring professional basketball player. The desire to pursue his lifelong interest in law enforcement won out. Chancellor earned a degree from American Public University in Emergency and Disaster Management and is a graduate of the 204th session of the FBI National Academy. He is also a graduate of the Law Enforcement Institute of Texas.
"I have always been intrigued with police work, and the opportunity to lead men and women who are likeminded is a lot of fun," he said.
Chancellor grew up near Aldine and considers himself a native Houstonian. The Shenandoah Police Department has been under his direction for 18 years. Chancellor said several factors contribute to his achievements.
"The success I have had in life can be attributed to my faith in God, the world's best support cast in my family and the outstanding men and women of the Shenandoah Police Department," he said.
What sort of changes has the city seen over the years?
For us in the police department, we see an increase in our call volume just from the sheer number of people who pass through our city. When you have more than a quarter million vehicles pass through your city, something is going to happen. When you're traveling south on I-45, by the time you get to Willis, you really can't tell what city you are in until you run out of concrete in Galveston, and certainly criminals don't know city limits or county lines. I want to do my best to make the people who live here and those that visit feel as safe as possible.
What was a problem you inherited when you became chief and how did you resolve it?
I inherited some folks that really didn't need to be police officers. The folks I wanted to keep already had sights on other agencies. It took me a couple of years to get the right officers in place, and some of them were not right for Shenandoah either. We have a new process now. When there is an opening for a shift, the officers and sergeant who has the opening sit down with each candidate that makes it through the physical and written tests that we administer and go through a set of questions with each candidate. The shift as a whole, along with the patrol lieutenant, grades each candidate. They decide which candidate they believe to be the best fit for the department and who will gel with the shift where he or she will be working.
What sort of policing challenges does Shenandoah encounter most?
Traffic is an issue for all of us, but it is inherently a bigger issue for police. Not only in dealing with increase in accidents [and] traffic hazards, it also causes serious delays in our response time. We have seen an increase in our call volume of over 70 percent in the past two years.
How does Shenandoah plan to manage crime with the city's growing population?
Probably the biggest problems we struggle with in Shenandoah are referred to as crimes of opportunity—car burglaries, shop lifting, etc. The Shenandoah Police Department has had a strategic plan in place for a number of years, and each year we look at the changes in our call volume and different police activities and plan accordingly.
What city-sponsored activities does the department participate in?
The city sponsors an Easter egg hunt, a small Fourth of July Parade, National Night Out party, Halloween Safe Street and the Lighting of the Angels, all of which the police department plays a role in. The city is also the host of the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships for 2015 and 2017. What is fun about working in Shenandoah is that while all of these events are not the sole responsibility of the police department, all city employees pitch in and help at every event.