Auburn Police Chief Daniel O’Neil will be retiring from law enforcement effective October 7, 2021. O’Neil was appointed as interim chief in November 2019 and sworn in as Auburn’s chief in March 2020.
“I am deeply grateful to Chief O’Neil for his innovative leadership and dedication to our community,” Mayor Nancy Backus stated, “He began his time as Chief facing some challenges within the department. We know we have great officers and they deserve great leadership, and so he set out to make positive changes. The list is long and impressive. I wish Dan and his family success and happiness as they begin this new chapter!”
During his time leading the Auburn Police Department, O’Neil is especially proud of the positive progress made towards improving the trust and transparency of the Auburn Police Department. In 2019, he immediately began implementing internal policies and practices to diversify the department, revamping the promotion process to be more equitable and outward-facing; implementing new training to specifically address generational differences, de-escalation, use of force, firearms, defensive tactics, and crisis intervention training; and created more programs to further the police department connection to the community and promote positive interactions with youth and our community at large.
“It has been a pleasure serving the Auburn Community for the past twenty-two years,” says O’Neil. “As I retire from Law Enforcement and begin the next chapter in my life, I can assure the Auburn Community that they will continue to be served by a professional police department of highly skilled and trained officers.“
The progressive work of Chief O’Neil with the support of the Mayor and City Council has already shown measurable and positive results both internally and externally. By updating hiring practices the department has increased their diverse hires from 10% to 23% in less than a year; there has been a significant shift in culture within the department in regards to disciplinary policies, leadership decisions, and internal investigations that are more fair and consistent; and the development, implementation, and selection of a 25-member community advisory committee. The Police Advisory Committee began meeting in October 2020 and has identified three priorities: homelessness; protecting our businesses and; a goal of zero officer-involved shootings.
O’Neil began his law enforcement career in 1999 with the City of Auburn. He spent his first three and a half years working primarily on graveyard patrol. In 2003, he became a field training officer, which made him responsible for teaching academy graduates the practical application of state law, city ordinance, and department policy and procedures. In 2005, O’Neil became a generalist canine handler, working with two separate dogs over six years. In July of 2010, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. As a Sergeant, he was assigned to patrol, property crimes, special investigations, and administrative services. He was promoted to Commander in March of 2017. O’Neil has a Master’s Degree in Public Safety Executive Leadership from Saint Cloud State University. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from Eastern Washington University and an Associate of Arts Degree from Green River College. He has also completed the International Association Chiefs of Police, Leadership in Police Organizations course and recently graduated from the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute of Puget Sound.
The search for a new police chief is ongoing.
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