Donegan to leave police chief post at end of yearDave Donegan, Jamestown chief of police for the past 17 years, will retire from the department at the end of the year. The move marks the end of 37 years of law enforcement service for Donegan.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Dave Donegan, Jamestown chief of police for the past 17 years, will retire from the department at the end of the year. The move marks the end of 37 years of law enforcement service for Donegan.
“I feel privileged to have done this in my hometown,” he said. “I will miss the people in the community. They’ve been great and hopefully I served them well.”
Donegan said he had been considering retiring for about a year and that his health is not a consideration in the decision.
After several years working for the railroad, Donegan put on the uniform and badge at age 26. In 1994 he was appointed chief of police by the Jamestown City Council after Ed Steckler was terminated from the position.
“Keeping the budget under control has been one of the biggest challenges,” Donegan said. “Getting all the grants has been important too. Grants are a big part of the equipment we have for the department now.”
Grants have paid for about 80 percent of all the equipment the department purchased in the past 15 years, he said.
“That dovetails into the savings in the budgets,” Donegan said. “We wouldn’t have the Special Operations Team without the grants. All the equipment for that team was bought through grants.”
The Special Operations Team is a multi-department squad used in situations involving greater risk of violence or danger to the public.
Community leaders said they appreciated Donegan’s budget efforts.
“He’s been very conservative in the budget requests,” said Charlie Kourajian, city councilman. “I was on the council when he was appointed chief and I know he’s been real active in pursuing grants. I hope the next administrator has that trait also.”
Fellow law enforcement officers appreciate his experience.
“He’s been here serving as chief longer than most officers stay in one department,” said Scott Edinger, detective for the Jamestown Police Department. “He will be missed because he went into the position with a lot of experience as a patrol officer.”
Edinger also appreciated Donegan’s demeanor as an administrator.
“He’s real easy going and helps everyone follow their own path in law enforcement,” he said.
The Jamestown Police and Fire Committee will discuss the hiring process for a new police chief at its meeting Thursday.
“His type of person will be tough to replace but I anticipate a lot of qualified candidates will apply from across the country,” Kourajian said.
Other officials within the Law Enforcement Center said Donegan has valuable experience.
“He’s going to be missed,” said Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff. “I could always talk to him about any issue. It’s sad to see older, experienced guys go.”
Donegan will complete the year in office but said he has no special plans for major projects in the last months.
“Nothing big,” he said. “I don’t want to start something someone else has to finish.”
He did reflect on the projects he has completed in his tenure as a police chief.
“The canine squad, the special operations teams and the school resource officer were all goals of mine,” Donegan said. “I immensely enjoyed my time as police chief but there were things that weren’t so fun. There’s never enough time and always something more to be done.”
Donegan said the biggest challenge he faced from outside the agency was the death of Jamestown businessman Joe Anderson in 1991. Anderson’s body was found in the trunk of a car at a Jamestown motel. No arrests have been made.
“That’s the biggest challenge,” he said. “I was a patrolman when it happened and kind of inherited the case.”
He also doesn’t have big plans for his retirement.
“Nothing right away,” he said. “Take a few months to finish things at home and play with the grandkids.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com