Minerva Police Department welcomes new chief

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The Village of Minerva has hired a new Police Chief.

Dale A. McDorman, a seasoned law enforcement veteran with over 30 years of experience, has been appointed as the new chief of the Minerva Police Department. McDorman, most recently serving as the chief of police in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he assumed the position in November 2020, brings a wealth of expertise to the Minerva community. He replaces former Minerva Chief Chris Miller, who retired from service at the end of the summer.

Having joined the Beaufort Police Department in 1995, McDorman also has local ties, having served as a Deputy at the Stark County Sheriff’s Office from 1988 to 1990.

During his tenure in Beaufort, South Carolina, McDorman has completed numerous educational and training initiatives including a recent FBI LEEDs Training from the Executive Leadership Institute, has been Police Chief since 2020, and is credited for the creation of the Beaufort K-9 division. McDorman prioritizes community engagement, officer training, and the safety of the department.

“I love the town of Minerva and I think there’s a lot of potential there, too,” the new chief said.

The selection process involved evaluating internal and external candidates, including the interim chief, Larry Gardner. Minerva Village Administrator, Benjamin Gunderson, shed light on the selection process, stating, the Village had three people interested in the position. “We had a hiring panel with experts in the police field, myself, and a council member who evaluated the options,” he said.

After meeting with all the candidates, Gunderson said he and the panel felt that McDorman was their best option.

“We knew Dale was our guy, but we had another problem. How do we keep Larry?” Gunderson said. “He’s been our interim chief for the last three months and he’s a huge asset for us.”

As part of the hire of the new Police Chief, the Village will also promote Lary Gardner to Deputy Police Chief.

“Larry has been a leader in the department for years, and we look forward to promoting Larry to Deputy Police Chief. We feel under the mentorship of McDorman, Larry will have the tools needed to take over the department when the time comes,” said Gunderson.

Interim Police Chief, Larry Gardner, has been with the Minerva Police Department for 14 years. Gardner served as Sergeant for the Department which allowed him to oversee a lot of the day-to-day operations.

“Larry has shown tremendous leadership abilities within the department and has boosted the morale over the last three to four months as Interim Chief,” said Gunderson. While acknowledging Garner’s significant contributions as the interim chief, Gunderson explained the decision to appoint McDorman and retain Garner is a “strategic move.”

The Administrator and Council plan to implement a strategic plan to hire McDorman on a three-year contract. Within the first year of the contract, a succession plan will be approved by the Administrator for Gardner to take over as Police Chief once McDorman retires from the Department.

“We think that [McDorman] will be able to mentor Larry along the way as well as the whole department. We see a lot of growth coming out of this,” Gunderson said. “Larry will assume the role as police chief, whether that’s three or five years, and we think that’s extremely beneficial for us.”

McDorman is expected to assume his role as the new chief in January 2024.