Mark Daniel, Mount Angel's new police chief, settles in
Mark Daniel, a former Sherwood Police Department captain with more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, was sworn in as the city of Mount Angel's new police chief on Dec. 4. Daniel replaces Mike Healy, who retired in October.
Daniel, 52, who lives in St. Paul, said he applied for the position because he was looking to become a police chief and wanted to lead a small agency.
"I really like what happens in small departments because you can truly be a part of the team and facilitate the growth of officers," Daniel said.
Daniel's been working in law enforcement since 1981, when he started in the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office cadet program as a teenager. But even before that, he knew he wanted to work in law enforcement.
"There isn't a time in my life where I could remember wanting to do anything else," Daniel said. He was exposed to police work at an early age, since his mother worked as a Milwaukie Police Department dispatcher.
The day after his 21st birthday, he was sworn in as a reserve deputy for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. And in 1987, less than a year later, he was hired as a police officer for the Salem Police Department, his first paid job in law enforcement. While a Salem Police Department employee, he worked in several roles including K-9 handler and sergeant.
In 2003, he left Salem to become a lieutenant for the Port of Portland Police Department at the Portland International Airport, where he supervised the K-9 team, bomb technicians and patrol officers, among other responsibilities.
And in 2009, he became captain of the Sherwood Police Department. During his time as captain, he first worked as the patrol operations commander, then as the support section commander.
In addition, Daniel has served as president of the Oregon Police Canine Association, is the current president of the Oregon Executive Development Institute and is the chair of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee for Chemeketa Community College. In 2014, he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Daniel said he's connected with leaders of many different agencies throughout his career, which is how he developed an affinity for smaller departments.
"It's my opinion that officers in small towns have to be just a little better than officers in bigger towns," Daniel said. "Our officers need to be that investigator that takes the initial call but also sees it all the way through the end, all the way through prosecution."
Daniel also said Mount Angel is an appealing place to work because of its community.
"Largely, the community polices itself," he said. "It's really our job to work hand-in-hand with members of the community to police and do what we can to make this community as livable and safe as we can."
And, he said it's a bonus that he didn't have to move for the job.
"My ties are in the Willamette Valley," Daniel said. "I've traveled pretty extensively. I like to ride motorcycles, and have been to a lot of different places. Every time I go on a different trip and come back, I realize how lucky I am to live where I live and to be around the people that I'm around."
He isn't coming into the role with any particular goals, other than maintaining the department's work and increasing efficiency where possible.
"There's very smart and capable people working here, and they have a successful police department," Daniel said. "So as far as goals, just to continue to do the good work that this department's been doing and to try to make ourselves more efficient and effective in what we do. I think that's the goal of every police chief."
When he's not working, Daniel said he likes riding motorcycles, going on road trips and helping people. He's been a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the St. Paul Fire District for three years. He's been married 28 years, and has an adult daughter who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He said even a few days into the job, he's already received a welcome reception from the Mount Angel community.
"I've met a lot of people in the past week, and that tells me a lot," Daniel said. "People are interested in who's going to lead their police department."
The Sherwood Gazette, part of Pamplin Media Group, provided additional background for this article.