In less than an hour Dan Donlin, 49, was offered and accepted the position of Bismarck Police Chief Friday afternoon. He takes command Jan. 19 after interim Police Chief Fred Wooten retires.
His annual salary will be $97,000. His 2012 annual salary as deputy police chief is $84,544.
“I am speechless. I am very humbled by this,” Donlin said after Bismarck City Commissioner Parrell Grossman made the announcement. “This is not about one person sitting in that office. It is about the department working as a team and going toward those common goals to keep our community safe.”
The Bismarck City Commission met in a special meeting at 2 p.m. Friday to make the offer, closed the meeting to decide a salary offer and invited Donlin down to meet with Grossman. Donlin accepted the offer shortly before 3 p.m.
Donlin was one of three finalists interviewed and tested for the job last week.
“It was a grueling process that was very fair and I think the city management did their job in finding the best people that they want to have doing that,” he said. “They were great in communicating with me about what stage they were at. I’m ready to move forward. This was one of my goals.”
Donlin, a 25-year veteran of the department and lifetime resident of Bismarck, said the transition will be fluid for the department and he “can hit the ground running.”
“We are a team down there and work very good together. I have inside knowledge to functions, very knowledgeable to further changes we will need to look at. We will analyze some of those, strategize as we move forward,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a seamless transition. We’ll be able to keep people where they are going, get our promotions going where we need to,” he said.
His first goals are to get the department fully staffed, and to obtain needed equipment and resources for officers. He thanked the commission for funding six more officers in 2013.
“We will have nine positions to fill plus another support position. I am going to concentrate on staffing, getting our staffing up so we can get this workload evenly distributed and do the best job that we can in the community,” said Donlin.
Donlin said the city’s growth will be on the forefront of police department decisions.
“We’ll have to look to the future and preplan as to what are the expectations as our community grows — traffic-wise, criminal wise,” he said. “We are working very carefully with the city management, with the commission. As long as we are informing them what our needs are, they have been phenomenal in being there for us and providing those resources.”
Since he started at the department in 1988, Donlin has progressed from patrol officer, SWAT Team, investigation and deputy police chief (in 2007).
Grossman said he recommended Donlin for the post because “he has a strong and successful record of law enforcement in the community” and “has that breadth and combination of experience that will allow him to be an excellent police chief in Bismarck.” He lauded Donlin for setting up police operations during the 2011 Missouri River flood.
Mayor John Warford supported Grossman’s motion and said Donlin shined during the flood crisis.
“He shown strong communications skills as our public information officer. He showed he deals well with being the face of the police department,” he said.