Daniel R. Head Jr. is familiarizing himself with the Verona community as he settles into his new duties as police chief. Head picked up the reins of office on Oct. 13, succeeding Chief Joe Powell, who left to take a position in the state of Texas.
Head is a 2003 graduate of the Western Missouri Region police academy in Independence. His first job in law enforcement was as a civilian employee in the Kansas City suburb of Belton while at the academy. He subsequently served for two years as police chief in the town of Cleveland, southwest of Belton.
Locally, Head worked three years for the Stone County Sheriff's Department and was in charge of security for the county courthouse in Galena. For almost a year he has worked as a patrol deputy for the Barry County Sheriff's Department.
"We're building the Verona Police Department back from the ground up," Head said.
Presently, the only other full-time officer is Scott Tidyman. Head hopes to work up a reserve program in the future.
"My basic goals are to make sure the department is in compliance with state and federal regulations," Head said. "That's an internal issue. As far as the city is concerned, I want to get as much coverage as we can. I want the city to feel the police department is out there for them as much as possible.
"The Highway 60 issue is going to be less of an issue," Head said. "We're still responsible for three miles. That's not our primary function or mission. We're still going to work hazardous moving violations. We are not the Highway Patrol. Our city and our citizens are our first responsibility."
The department presently has two vehicles: the Durango used by the former chief and a Ford Crown Victoria squad car. A second Crown Victoria was totaled in a vehicular crash on Highway 60. Head said the city chose to buy the car back from the insurance company and keep it for parts for the working squad car.
New decal work is being done on both vehicles so that they will be very clearly and similarly marked, Head said.
Head lives in Monett. He and his wife, Jennifer, have four children.
Aldermen hired Head by a vote of three to one after reviewing six applications. Alderman George Strawn offered the only dissenting vote. Strawn had maintained through the hiring process that the city did not need a chief. Aldermen approved an annual salary of $25,000.