Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dan Wade: Even-keel police chief

I've racked my brain for months trying to think of what to say about Dan Wade who ends a competent 35-year law enforcement career at the end of the month when he steps down as Kenosha's Chief of Police.

Retiring at the end of a good career usually means the usual accolades will be uttered and most everyone will smile, shake hands and trade one-liners.

That's not bad. Many police chiefs don't retire to accolades or smiles.

The law enforcement community will extend its best wishes to Dan Friday with cake and refreshments but Dan will share the honors with several others long-time Kenosha officers who are likewise retiring.

That's the kind of guy he is. Low-key. Even-keel.

Don't for one minute equate low-key or even-keel with aloofness or inaccessibility. To the contrary, Dan was one of the most accessible and involved police chiefs in the city's history. It's just that he's never been flashy about it.

Competent, pragmatic, methodical, compassionate. Those were hallmarks of Dan's style that served him well and should serve as benchmarks for John Morrissey, the incoming chief.

If there was a problem, you could talk to Dan about it. You could also share a joke, a story, an experience. It was not beneath the highest ranking member of the department to spend some time getting to know the lowest. Dan Wade was indeed articulate but never dwelled in an ivory tower.

When John Morrissey takes over the helm there will likely be new challenges to be met, issues to be resolved and crimes to solve. But there will likely be fewer of them thanks to the even-keel leadership of his predecessor.

Good luck, Dan. I'll miss you.

Note: A few months ago the Kenosha News did what amounted to an "exit interview" with Dan. It's great reading.

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