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Sean Dunn sworn in as city's police chief
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Martinsville’s new police chief, Sean Dunn (left), shakes hands Monday with Judge G. Carter Greer after the judge officially swore Dunn in at the city municipal building. (Bulletin photo by Ben R. Williams)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Martinsville’s new police chief was sworn in Monday at the Martinsville Municipal Building.

Chief Sean Dunn formerly was police commander in Portsmouth, where he began his law enforcement career in 1993, according to city manager Leon Towarnicki, who introduced Dunn.

Dunn was sworn in by Martinsville Judge G. Carter Greer, who presented Dunn with a badge following the ceremony. Around 100 people attended.

“During his tenure with Portsmouth, (Dunn) served on numerous committees, task forces and other community and interdepartmental work groups,” Towarnicki said. “He worked closely with many departments and city-wide operations, including the uniform patrol division, criminal investigations, crime analysis, community policing and crime prevention.”

After being sworn in, Dunn told the crowd he was grateful for the warm reception he has received in the city and county.

“To the leadership of the city and to the community of Martinsville, thank you very much for giving me and my family this opportunity to move here,” said Dunn, who has two children with his wife, Stacy. “This is a beautiful community. We’ve been here quite a number of times, and we’re really impressed by everything that we’ve seen.”

Dunn thanked interim police chief Eddie Cassady and former police chief Mike Rogers for their help during his transition.

“You both have been really helpful in helping me transition,” he said, “and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I look forward to working with and meeting all the staff and working closely with them, as well as the community.”

Dunn said his goal over the coming months is to learn about the police department inside and out.

“In Portsmouth, I’ve had a number of police chiefs in my 21 years,” Dunn said. “The police chiefs that were successful, I think, were the police chiefs that came in, took their time, and really assessed the department ... making sure they’re touching every segment of the community. I think that for the first months, maybe year, my job is to assess what needs to be done here. By no means am I planning on coming in and making a whole bunch of changes.”

Every police department has its own language, procedures and protocols, Dunn said, and one of his biggest challenges will be learning the particulars of day-to-day operations in Martinsville.

“I’m very sincere when I say that I’ve got a lot to learn,” said Dunn, who has a master’s degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis in public executive leadership from Regent University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (and) the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police, according to Towarnicki.

Cassady said he looks forward to working with Dunn.

“We’ve been communicating since he got the position,” Cassady said. “He’s excited about being here, and we’re just looking forward to having him. I think he’s going to be a good addition to the police department. I’ll help him any way he needs me to.”

Rogers, who retired in July, said he congratulates Dunn and wishes him well in his new career.

When asked if he had any advice for the new police chief, Rogers said that Dunn has “been in law enforcement long enough to know a whole lot about the job.”

However, Rogers said, “The biggest change he’s going to see is he’s no longer in a position where he’s going to be making recommendations on decisions; he’s the one making the final decision. The buck stops with him.”

Rogers said he does not miss the stress of constantly worrying about the safety of city residents and police officers.

“There’s a lot of stress involved in being the one ultimately responsible for the safety of not only the citizens, but the men and women in the department,” he said.

“I hope he enjoys his job ... as much as I love the one I’ve got now,” Rogers added with a chuckle, referring to his new position with an area funeral home.


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