City Council Hires New Police Chief
Olney City Council convened on June 15 to approve the hiring of Dan Birbeck as Olney’s new Chief of Police. Graduating from the police academy in 1992, Birbeck originally attended the academy to utilize the training and experience for the security company he owned. In 1997, he decided to leave security and went into law enforcement full time. In 2009, he began working for the Young County Sheriff ’s office as a reserve deputy while also working full time as a police officer in the Dallas area. In 2018, when he retired from the agency in Dallas, he took a job in Young County as a full-time deputy and patrol sergeant for the Sheriff. Since 2018, Birbeck has done a lot of various things for the Olney Police Department - from working cases to providing training to Olney police officers. When the position for Chief of Police came open, he felt he was a good fit and applied.
“We are elated to have Chief Birbeck join our team. It was a priority for the city to find someone with a strong history of community collaboration and involvement. We believe with his background he will excel in this role that is so critical to the community,” said City Administrator, Neal Welch.
Birbeck holds numerous licenses and certifications from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education including, but not limited to: Master Texas Peace Officer License, Firearms Instructor, Mental Health Peace Officer and Crime Prevention Inspector. One of his goals as Olney’s new chief is to have all the police officers certified in mental health so that they can respond appropriately and will enable them to identify when people are in a crisis as opposed to being criminal.
“Mental health obviously plays a big role in today’s society. It’s psychiatric, and we need to be able to respond to that appropriately and deal with it. One of my projects in the Dallas area I started [was] the Mental Health Peace Officer team that was specifically designed to address mental health emergencies. I want to bring that here and get [the officers] prepared to deal with that program,” Birbeck said.
Birbeck has multiple items on his agenda as Olney’s new police chief, stating “First is to kind of set the tone. I plan to meet with the officers and the staff of the Olney Police Department, share my leadership philosophies with them, my expectations and goals, and then I’m going to get their feedback on things that they’ve been living. Then I’m going to develop a strategic plan to be able to address each of those concerns obviously prioritizing them from most important to [least important].”
Part of the collaborative effort is that Birbeck wants to start townhall meetings where people can come and talk to them openly. Another part is that he would like to start a ‘Coffee with Cops’ program where there is a scheduled time that the people can come, sit, talk to the officers, and share information.
“What I bring is a collaborative spirit to work with the community leaders, community members, churches, organizations and anybody that will have us in front of them. It takes a village, honestly, to address the problems that are going on; and we need to support the community. To do that, it means getting out of our police cars and going out and talking to people in the yards and just being friendly and visiting,” says Birbeck.
Birbeck intends to move to Olney and become part of the community.
“I want to get connected with everybody and get to know everyone and become active in our community,” said Birbeck. “Olney Police Department is here to serve you. We’re going to do our best to rise up to the challenge and become a symbol of pride for this community. I want the citizens to know that we’re going to bring the standard up.”