Dornhecker: Griffith Can Heal the San Angelo Police Department


OPINION — My name is Todd Dornhecker. I retired from the San Angelo Police Department as a Sergeant with 20 years of service. During my tenure, I served in several capacities within the department including Canine, Narcotics, Patrol, Special Operations and Gangs, Hostage Negotiations Team, and the Traffic Division. In that time, I had the opportunity to either work with or supervise both candidates that are currently running for Chief of Police. I hold the San Angelo Police Department and its officers in the highest regard, as this is where I started and ended my Law Enforcement career.

Over the past few months, I have observed these gentlemen put themselves out there for the public to decide who would be the best candidate to be elected and fill the role as Chief of Police. I have seen them maintain their dignity and poise, often under intense scrutiny.

That being said, one candidate stands out to me as the best choice to lead the San Angelo Police Department into the ever-changing future of law enforcement. Leadership is defined as "the ability of an individual or a group of people to influence and guide followers or members of an organization, society or team." Though I don't doubt both candidates' ability to "lead" in their own way, I feel Travis Griffith has demonstrated time and time again that he has the leadership skills, compassion, vision, and desire to take the San Angelo Police Department to the next level.

Travis's ability to communicate with and reach those that society has deemed broken is one of his most impressive qualities. Bridging gaps within the community is something that must be done. It has been said many times that San Angelo is special or different and that is true. The citizens are some of the finest people I have ever met, and I have travelled the country extensively.

The topic of education has come up during this election numerous times, and I am a firm believer that specialized training holds value in leadership positions. Mark Twain stated, "I have never let schooling interfere with my education." I am also a firm believer that the experiences we navigate through in life add to our overall education and are hugely instrumental in developing who we are as leaders.

I find it interesting that some are focusing on the fact that Travis Griffith is not a Lieutenant, thus not "qualified" to be the Chief of Police. Please allow me to educate the voters that of all of the previous elected Chiefs of the San Angelo Police Department since at least 1978 have all either been Sergeants or below with one exception, our current Chief (who was a lieutenant upon election).

The last issue that I would like to address is one that resonates with me the most. It was said early on in this campaign that a request was made from one candidate's family member "that I not lose another friendship due to politics". Unfortunately, I am afraid that this very thing has happened due to personal shots taken at candidates. At this point, I think we have a need and an opportunity to heal divisions within the department and unite everyone under a singular purpose. Travis has the vision and desire to do just that. I truly hope, for San Angelo's residents and its officers, that Travis Griffith is our next Chief of Police.

I am proud to say that my family and I endorse Sgt. Travis Griffith to be elected as the next Chief of Police in San Angelo.

Todd Dornhecker

Dornhecker is currently the Vice President of Business Development at Principal LED. He retired in 2016 with 20 years experience as a peace officer with the San Angelo Police Department.

Todd Dornhecker, VP of Business Development at Principal LED

Todd Dornhecker, VP of Business Development at Principal LED

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