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New police chief ready to focus on job

Monday was Lee Dobrowolski’s first day on the job. Hillsboro’s new police chief said he has been busy getting his office set up, getting to know the staff of the Hillsboro Police Department — and having a lot of meetings.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Susan Dobrowolski pins the police chiefs badge onto her husband Lee's uniform after he was sworn in as the Hillsboro Police Departments new chief Tuesday night.

“My first day was very long, but I am loving it,” Dobrowolski said. “I’m very impressed with the quality of the police officers in Hillsboro, and the city is great.”

The new chief, who served for 22 years with the Salt Lake City Police Department and was the department’s deputy chief, was hired by the city of Hillsboro in late December.

Dobrowolski said he deeply appreciates the widespread support he has received.

“Other police chiefs and mayors in the area have reached out to me. The welcome from my peers has been wonderful,” he said.

However, Dobrowolski added that he is eager to move out of the spotlight and focus on his duties for the department.

“The honest feeling I have is, I’m ready to have me being the center of attention be over with and just get to work,” Dobrowolski explained. “I understand it and appreciate it and am humbled by the attention, but it’s the guys on the street and the detectives and the rest of the staff — they’re the ones doing the real work.”

Dobrowolski appears to be making a good impression so far. Lt. Michael Rouches, spokesman for the department, said the rank-and-file appreciate his approach.

“His energy and enthusiasm is already apparent, and his connectivity with our staff and the public has already been a great step forward,” Rouches said Tuesday. “His ability to lead and his fit at HPD is something we all feel comfortable with. He comes with strong expectations, but the feeling among department members is that he definitely is bringing exactly the leadership elements (we were looking for) during our search for a chief.”

Dobrowolski’s hiring was the product of a process that lasted close to a year following the March 9, 2013, resignation of Carey Sullivan, Hillsboro’s previous police chief.

Hillsboro City Manager Michael Brown, who led the search for a new chief and made the final hiring decision, wrote in a recent email he has no doubt the department found the right man.

“His commitment to community policing is clear, and his connection to the public and the department will serve the city well,” Brown wrote in a December email announcing Dobrowolski’s hiring.

Mayor Jerry Willey was even more effusive in his praise of Dobrowolski.

During his “State of the City” address Jan. 30, Willey introduced the new chief to an overflow crowd at the Hillsboro Main Library with great fanfare.

“We hired the best police chief in the country,” Willey said. “Lee really stood out among an already tremendous group of finalists. Lee truly is exceptional.”

Dobrowolski was formally sworn in before Tuesday’s city council meeting.

In a demonstration of how close Lee and his wife Susan are, Dobrowolski said he asked his wife of 25 years to take a key role in the ceremony after taking his oath of office.

“I want her to pin on my badge,” he said.

After Dobrowolski was officially installed as the department’s new police chief — a ceremony that included a police and fire honor guard — Willey congratulated him on behalf of the city.

“Welcome to Hillsboro,” Willey said. “We have high expectations of you, and we’re going to give you every support you need.”



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