Dayton’s new police chief takes office

Dayton Police Chief Robert Vine (left) visits with Texas Ranger Brandon Bess at a reception Friday in Vine's honor.

By Vanesa Brashier,

The City of Dayton is celebrating the arrival of its new police chief – Robert Vine. After beginning his first day on the job Jan. 7, a reception in his honor was held Friday, Jan. 11.

As he waited for the first guests to arrive, Vine was happy to share his plans for the department.

“It’s been a busy week with all the paperwork of a new job and getting to know everyone here. We had a departmental meeting where I shared my expectations,” he said. “I am still getting on the ground here but I see no major changes coming for a while. From what I’ve been told and what I’ve seen, Dayton Police Department is a really good department. People are where they need to be.”

Vine plans to make some minor improvements, mostly in training and continuing education for employees.

“If there are specialty classes they want to attend, then I want to get them in those classes,” he said. “We also should do some cross training.”

Over the next few weeks, Vine hopes to learn more about his staff and help each build a career plan with the department.

“I plan to bring every employee in separately – from animal control, dispatch, patrol and admin – and talk about where they think the department is and where they want to go with their career,” he said. “We need to work on how to get them where they want to be, find out what’s working and let them share their ideas.”

Vine describes his management philosophy as “servant-leadership” and says, “The higher you go in a job, the harder you should work for the people who work for you.”

It’s a principle he believes was successful at his previous job as police chief in Gladewater, where he worked closely with Dayton City Manager Theo Melancon, who was the city manager at the time. Prior to five years in Gladewater, Vine spent 15 years working his way through the ranks at Mount Pleasant Police Department.

According to Vine, Dayton residents can expect to see more community policing with events like Coffee With a Cop and National Night Out and programs for a Citizens Police Academy, Clergy Police Academy and Ride-Alongs.

The chief also is setting his sights on recognition for the department through the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s Best Practices program.

“They will evaluate the department and give suggestions on what we need to improve,” Vine said, adding that the process could take up to two years to accomplish.

Despite all the post-holiday busyness, the relocation to Dayton with his wife, Kristy, has been smooth, according to Vine.

“The people in Dayton have been genuinely kind to us,” the chief said, adding that he is encouraged by the pro-law enforcement sentiments he has witnessed in residents and city leadership.

“As a new chief administrator coming in, this is a situation you want to see. It’s not a harsh environment. The council and city manager are extremely police-friendly and have provided well for the department,” he said.

In recent months, the city council approved the purchase of a new Motorola 5500 console for dispatch, 19 Watchguard mobile cameras, new handheld radios, three marked patrol vehicles and two vehicles for police administrators.

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