Mike McKibbin

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July 25, 2012
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Community will tell the tale of John Dyer

The page will turn on the next chapter in the history of the Rifle Police Department next month. How that chapter will be written is anyone's guess, but I'm starting to think the main actor could be pretty good.

As you read on the front page of this week's Telegram, John Dyer has been hired to replace Daryl Meisner, who will retire after nearly four decades of service, more than two decades as the city's top cop.

That means chances are some changes are coming, both inside and outside the police department. As you've all heard, change can be good. But it's often unsettling, too, since people have to get used to how things are done in a different way.

Perusing Dyer's resume, though, leads me to think Rifle is getting a good man, who seems genuinely committed to community, which I think is probably the most important trait for Rifle's police chief.

Dyer has worked for the Oak Harbor, Wash., Police Department since 1984 and has been a patrol commander, directing and mentoring 20 commissioned officers, as well as reserve officers, explorers and citizen patrol, since 2007.

He also helped develop a Community Alert Network, which provides subscribed citizens with information on crime trends, crime prevention and department activities and programs.

For four years, he was Community Services Supervisor, and coordinated all department community policing efforts in collaboration with a community advisory board and Citizens on Patrol groups.

Dyer was also a DARE anti-drug officer for six years, has more than 2,800 hours of professional development to his credit and received several awards and honors for promoting community partnerships and service.

Maybe most impressive, in some minds, might be his nine-years-and-running streak of being named the Best Police Officer on Whidbey Island (2003-2011), by readers of the Whidbey News Times.

And Dyer has wanted to be a police chief for awhile. In May, Dyer was named one of the top five finalists for police chief of Des Moines, Wash., and applied to be the new police chief in Oak Harbor when that chief retired.

His wife, Peggy, has family ties to the Front Range of Colorado, so there's already some familiarity with the state.

I've talked to Dyer a few times and he seems intelligent and well-versed, as you'd expect a police chief to be. He seems to have a good idea of how to get acclimated to Rifle and said he's looking forward to working in a smaller department.

But he will likely bring change, and what kind of change remains to be seen. I think it's all part of a community's growth. At least I hope it turns out that way.

I did the news at a radio station in Glenwood Springs many years ago, when a police chief was brought in from outside the community. He didn't last very long, after his officers rebelled over his management style. From what Dyer told me, that doesn't seem likely here. But time will tell.

It's not only Rifle's finest that will tell and write the tale of John Dyer, Rifle police chief. It's you, me and everyone else in the city.

It's community.

Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 25, 2012 06:15PM Published Jul 25, 2012 06:14PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.