City of Dayton names new police chief

Robert Vine (left) is the new police chief for the City of Dayton. For the last couple of months, the police department has been under the guidance of Interim Police Chief Charles Wedemeyer (center). Vine will also assist City Manager Theo Melancon (right) in the operations of the city. Melancon and Vine previously worked together in Gladewater, Texas.

The Dayton City Council chose a new leader for the police department during Monday night’s meeting. Robert Vine, who previously worked with Dayton City Manager Theo Melancon when both were in Gladewater, Texas, is the new chief. His first day on the job is tentatively set for Jan. 7.

The selection of Vine brings an expansion to the role of police chief. In addition to serving in that capacity, Vine will be the deputy city manager.

Robert Vine and his wife, Kristy, have already begun looking for homes in the Dayton area. Vine was named the new police chief at Monday night’s city council meeting. Kristy works in the insurance industry.

Vine said he and his wife, Kristy, are looking forward to becoming part of the Dayton community, particularly at a time of critical growth in the city.

“I also get to work with a great team that the city of Dayton has with the city manager and city council. They seem to be very supportive of law enforcement,” the new chief said.

Working with Melancon, his former city manager in Gladewater, will ease the transition.

“We got along really well. He is a very good communicator and a skilled leader – two things I appreciate in a supervisor or boss,” Vine said.

Prior to being chief of Gladewater Police Department, where he worked for five years, Vine made his way through the ranks of Mount Pleasant Police Department over a 15-year period.

Having worked in cities with populations ranging from 6,000 to 16,000, Vine said he is comfortable in both environments.

“I am comfortable with where Dayton is now and where it will be in the next 3-5 years,” he said. “Leadership is the same if you are in a bigger city or a smaller city, so that won’t change.”

He believes that the key to a servant-leadership style is to communicate with employees and treat them well. Working together and building a good team is universal, he said.

When asked if he is pleased with council’s decision to hire Vine, Melancon said he was thankful the council trusted the process they were asked to use in making their selection.

“I am thankful the council trusted the process we went through. We used the interview panels, resume review committee, on site interviews, phone interviews and a lot of different mechanisms to vet out this candidate,” Melancon said. “I think Rob will fit in well with the staff. He understands the management style that I bring to the table, so I think it will be a smooth transition. We know what to expect from each other and he knows I set a high bar.”

Interim Police Chief Charles Wedemeyer is expected to stay on with the city through the holiday season and until Vine is sworn in as police chief in the new year.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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